PB&J For the Hungry Service Project Spotlight
Updated: Feb 13
Written by Annalisa Ciro
Born as a service project for Family Strengthening Network’s annual Family Day of Service event, Hopeloft’s PB&J for the Hungry project has evolved into a permanent monthly event for the local community. The project was created in October of 2019 by Hopeloft’s event coordinator Hillary Nichols, who was inspired by Unforgotten Haven, a non-profit in Blackwood, NJ that holds weekly PB&J service projects.
Hopeloft’s PB&J for the Hungry is dedicated to making and serving at least 100 sandwiches at each event to distribute to local individuals and families, serving typically 100 to 300 people. While the project is relatively new, each month the event reaches more members of the community—both volunteers and recipients—in part because it is such a simple yet impactful approach to giving back.
With the help of event coordinator Alejandra Barragan, Hillary has leveraged a host of social media platforms to spread the word, mobilizing community leaders and local youth towards a unified goal of providing for those in need. The event currently receives donations from Gateway’s Food Pantry and Bridgeton’s Salvation Army, while volunteers range from local schools to families interested in serving their community. The project has likewise inspired local elementary and high schools to prepare sandwiches and decorate brown lunch bags which are then delivered to Hopeloft for the monthly PB&J events. Hillary and Alejandra have also partnered with Bethany Grace Church, who, along with Bridgeton’s Salvation Army, help distribute meals packed at the monthly events to members of the community in need of food.
Projects like the monthly PB&J for the Hungry event strengthens bonds between members of the community, reminds those on the margins that they are seen and valued, and creates tangible and meaningful change; and while this event is but one of the myriad projects operating out of Hopeloft, it is a key element in a constantly evolving process of engendering positive change in the local community and society at large.
Want to get involved? Hopeloft’s next PB&J for the Hungry will take place on Thursday, January 23rd from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the first floor of Hopeloft on 40 East Commerce Street in Bridgeton, NJ. The event is typically held on the fourth Thursday of every month (with a few exceptions); to RSVP and see all upcoming 2020 dates you can check out our Event's page, as well as on our Facebook and Instagram.