United Way of Greater Mercer County collected nearly 5,000 pounds of food, the equivalent of 4,025 meals, for their 6th annual Strike Out Hunger event. The food collected benefited Mercer Street Friends Food Bank’s network of over 40 food pantries.

Despite the need to pivot to a virtual event, the mission remained the same. Instead of their usual in-person meal packing event which gathers over 500 volunteers, United Way encouraged individuals to join its #bagchallenge and to donate non-perishable foods at various locations across the county throughout the month of June. Volunteers created reusable bags from home using t-shirts. The bags were then donated to food pantry partners as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags and for cost savings. UWGMC would like to give a special thanks to Stark & Stark for providing 100 t-shirts that were transformed into bags (visit www.uwgmc.org to participate in #bagchallenge).

Many of the individuals and companies that collected food included Bristol Myers Squibb Affinity Groups, Robert Half, NRG, PerformCare NJ, Joshua Zinder Architecture & Design, Princeton University, M&T Bank, AdCafé, Boy Scout Troop 46 Morrisville, Case Western Reserve Greek Life, Imbue Creative, Zonta Mercer, the Trenton Police Department, The Rotary Club of the Princeton Corridor, NJM Insurance Group, Klatzkin, and Jewish Community Youth Foundation.

UWGMC credits the Strike Out Hunger Planning Committee and partner Mercer Street Friends Food Bank for assisting with the quick pivot from a brick-and-mortar to a virtual event. The Planning Committee was represented by a cross-section of local companies and nonprofits including Arbonne, Grounds For Sculpture, Horizon NJ Health, Investors Bank, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, M&T Bank, Mercer Street Friends, NJM Insurance Group, Northfield Bank, PNC Bank, Present Company, Princeton University, Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, SL Business, Stark & Stark, and The College of New Jersey and Wells Fargo.

Sponsors for this year’s Strike Out Hunger included Horizon NJ Health, NRG, NJM Insurance Group, Wells Fargo, Aqua, Berkshire Bank, Investors Bank, Mass Mutual, M&T Bank, Mercadien, PNC Bank, Stark & Stark, St. Francis Medical Center and The Rotary Club of the Princeton Corridor. In addition to financial support, many event sponsors organized teams to help collect food.

The College of New Jersey, 94.5 WPST Radio, Starbucks (Mercer Mall and Trenton Community Store), and Investors Bank Mercer County branches all hosted food drop off stations at their respective locations.

This year’s virtual Strike Out Hunger event is part of the United Way’s Worldwide Day of Action, which helps businesses meet Corporate Social Responsibility goals, strengthen their corporate culture, and do good for the community in which they work. For more information, visit: http://www.uwgmc.org/soh