NJ lawyers battle hunger by battling each other in food drive
Now through Feb. 26, members of the New Jersey State Bar Association are participating in and donating to an endeavor called Lawyers Feeding New Jersey, with the goal of feeding at least a portion of the Garden State's 1.1 million food-insecure residents, including 400,000 children.
"If you're driving on the Turnpike, and you go by eight cars -- there's one person in each car -- one of those people doesn't know where their next meal's coming from," said Miles Winder, NJSBA president. He said the two-month effort is a partnership with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, which is able to provide five meals to those in need for every $1 the organization receives.
Last year, the first time the NJSBA tried the fundraiser, it brought in $60,000 from some 400 individuals and 50 law firms. Participants can donate by themselves, or form teams whose efforts will be pitted against each other for the common good.
There is no finite monetary goal this year, but Winder is definitely looking to exceed the 2015 total.
"Lawyers have a competitive streak, so making this a challenge for lawyers, I think we can feed New Jersey pretty easily," he said.
Winder said the idea to schedule the donation drive after the holiday season, which is usually the peak period for such events, was intentional.
"Food banks typically have their worst periods after Jan. 1, and so we're playing to that as well," he said.
According to Paris Eliades, immediate past president of the NJSBA, working directly with the Community FoodBank prevented the potential roadblock of raising money for a cause without knowing exactly where that money would be distributed or how it would be ultimately used.
"They'll disburse these monies equally throughout the state, because that was a concern that some people had last year, that some food banks would get more than others," he said. "We thought this was a great way to somewhat highlight and address a substantial need in our community."
For more details, check out the Lawyers Feeding New Jersey link on the NJSBA website.
Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's evening news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015, email email@example.com, and listen for his live reports Monday through Thursday nights between 6:30 and 11 p.m.