The Somerset County Food Bank Network has its home base in Bound Brook, New Jersey. With over 12,000 pounds of food given to at least 70 families per week, the food bank operates Monday-Friday.
Divided by the main entrance for families to pick out groceries and the new warehouse where deliveries are made each day, volunteers, clients, and the small number of full-time staff shuffle in and out daily.
“We’re so busy all the time, ” Dominique Cousin, the warehouse manager said. “We get deliveries all throughout the week and are constantly unpacking and restocking food items.”
The Food Bank Network also reaches families in Somerville and North Plainfield with smaller food pantries. There are at least 30-40 volunteers from students to older men and women helping at the warehouse each week, plus more in the individual pantries.
In addition to the food that gets donated for families, there is also The Backpack Program. In a separate room in the warehouse, volunteers create plastic bags full of snacks, and small meals including Kraft Mac and Cheese or Cup of Noodles to give to schools with children who have food instability when they’re at home.
Operating since 1982, the food bank’s goal is for people with food insecurities to become self-sufficient.
Special bags filled with snacks are prepped and ready to go to schools with children who don’t have full meals over the weekend. This is part of the Backpack Program that serves hundreds of children in the county, Monday Nov. 29, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro
L-R Kirt Mills, Ferd Simoes and Dave Lisk haul all the boxes out of the van. Once everything is in the warehouse; the food gets weighed and sorted by type and expiration date, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 Photo by Courtney Shapiro
The food bank receives deliveries from local grocery stores, including Whole Foods at least once a week. Fresh produce such as cauliflower are popular, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro
Dairy products including cheese, yogurt, butter and milk are stocked in the large warehouse refrigerators, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro
Mishell Morales comes to the food bank around noon and gets groceries every couple of weeks. She shops for cereal, pasta, and other items with longer shelf lives, Monday Nov. 29, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro
Diana Yeroui feeds her son bread while she shops for food, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro
Mike Markot comes in right before closing on to grab some weekend items. His cart has some fruit, bread, canned goods and laundry detergent, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Photo by Courtney Shapiro