Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Agency Officers joined Table of Hope and County College of Morris leaders and volunteers Tuesday in distributing free produce, canned goods, meat and dairy products from the CCM campus to anyone in need.
The event on June 23 drew supportive appearances from New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and United States Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who applauded the generous outreach at a time when many families have been economically devastated by the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.
The food distribution was primarily hosted by County College of Morris and Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry, a non-profit program of the Morristown-based Spring Street Community Development Corporation (Spring Street CDC).
Student and community volunteers turned out to assist with sorting and bagging lentils, cereals, dried cherries, meat, tuna fish, and an abundance of lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables donated by Alstede Farms. Morris County Sheriff’s Officers, along with CCM Security Officers, were responsible for traffic control, ingress and egress from the site but many helped unload trucks and carry boxes to prepping tables.
A team from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile addiction and mental health outreach program was on-scene to pass out literature but team members also spent much of their time separating food items and loading groceries into bags.
Morristown Pastor Sidney Williams and his wife, Teresa Williams, formed the Spring Street CDC about 10 years ago, and since March have distributed more than two tons of food to people in need around Morris County through the Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry.
As vehicles were lining up for the no-contact distribution of bags of food placed in their trunks by volunteers, Sheriff Gannon and others commended the mission to keep families nourished and healthy throughout the pandemic.
“I’m very honored to be here and very honored to be your Morris County Sheriff,” he said. “This is a partnership. What I see when I look out here today is people who are going to make a direct difference in the lives of other people. These are our neighbors, these are our friends. It’s a tough year, 2020.”
“This has affected people all across our county, all across our state and nation. It’s great to play a small part,” the Sheriff said.
CCM President Dr. Anthony Iacono, whose wife and son volunteered at the event, introduced First Lady Murphy, Congresswoman Sherrill, state Senator Anthony Bucco, Morris County Freeholder John Krickus, Pastor Williams and his wife, and others in short, pre-distribution remarks.
All emphasized the need to work harmoniously, without divisiveness, during a crisis.
“You have incredible partnerships here. No one is looking at anyone else and saying ‘Why are you here?’ That’s one of the best things about Morris County,” said First Lady Murphy.
She highlighted Table of Hope’s impact on the community by saying “I think Table of Hope has always served a really important role in the county. If you don’t know you should know, in the last two months Table of Hope has served over two tons of food.”
Mrs. Williams told the volunteers she was simply happy to work with committed volunteers, while Rev. Williams credited Community Food Bank of New Jersey Chief Executive Officer Carlos Rodriguez for his partnership with Table of Hope.
“None of this would be possible without the tremendous help of our partners and networks, like Table of Hope. The leadership here is really second to none. Just remember, to fight hunger, to nourish New Jersey, it takes all sectors coming together the way we’re experiencing today,” Mr. Rodriguez said.