Four Westfield teens are working together to fight hunger on behalf of Jersey Shore Sandy victims.
Michael Armento, 16, Molly Dombroski, 15, Andrew Gorczyca, 16, and Chris Hendrix, 15, friends since attending Roosevelt Intermediate School together, have created an online food drive to benefit those in need. The group is readying to receive the sacrament of confirmation at St. Helen's Church this spring and wanted to serve others as part of their preparation.
"We wanted to create a big service project to do together to help the people of New Jersey who were so hurt by Hurricane Sandy," Hendrix explained. "We all saw here in Westfield how bad the storm hit and hurt people but what we have seen down at the Jersey shore is so bad. So we came up with this food drive to help the people in need now. Many of our family members had damage from the storm but most of them have insurance. Our food drive is to help people who don't have any help. Molly's family had a home in Lavallette that was very hard hit."
Hendrix explained that when the group began planning the project they were thinking of placing boxes to collect food throughout town but then Armento discovered yougivegoods.com which allows people to shop and donate without ever leaving their homes.
The group set up a page, http://www.yougivegoods.com/JerseyShoreSandyFoodDrive-2, and donations will go to the Community Food Bank of NJ where the teens will also be volunteering several times in the coming months.
The organizers believe that conducting the drive online has allowed them to connect with more people who are willing to support their effort. By using their personal Facebook accounts, email and creating a Twitter account @SandyFoodDrive they've been able to spread the word through cyberspace.
"Doing this food drive online and using our social media has helped us all so, so much. We are connecting with people directly," said Hendrix, who noted that more than $1,100 worth of food has already been donated.
The teens are happy to report that they have received plenty of support from family, friends and the St. Helen's community.
"We hope in some way that we help the people at the shore," Hendrix said. "Our deadline is March 31st and we hope to go way beyond our $2,000 goal."
To make a donation, visit: http://www.yougivegoods.com/JerseyShoreSandyFoodDrive-2