Compañeros de Comida includes, from left, Catherine White, Charlotte Stant, Katherine Busch, Brooke Bosonac, Julia Lazarescu, Charlotte Shenman and Margot White. (Not shown: Brett Cetnar Garrett.) (Click to enlarge.)[Press release from Compañeros de Comida]
There is an exciting new community collaboration in Red Bank. Several weeks ago, Lunch Break introduced a community grant program offering families financial assistance during the COVID Pandemic. At that time, Itzel Perez of American Friends Service Committee, Isabel Escalante, a parishioner at St. Thomas Church, Charlotte Stant, a rising senior at RFH and Risa Clay, Tinton Falls councilwoman and retired Red Bank Regional High School principal began working with the Greater Red Bank Women’s Initiative (GRBWI) Immigration Committee to help identified families complete their applications.
During the process, they discovered a significant number of families in Red Bank were facing food insecurity as a result of Covid-19.
Stant, 17, created the nonprofit corporation to feed severely marginalized families who cannot access food banks for a variety of reasons. Stant states that “the group, Compañeros de Comida, has received thousands of dollars donated through social media as well as thousands of food pantry items. Each week they organize and deliver a week’s worth of both perishable and non-perishable items to more than forty families.” Additionally, several families have been adopted by a shopper who communicates with them directly and shops for them weekly. Through a partnership with Pinwheel Place families were also gifted with diapers and other baby products.
Compañeros de Comida has joined forces with The Source Foundation at Red Bank Regional High School to allow for the expansion of services through a tax deductible donation base. A committed group of students from Rumson Fair Haven High School assists each week with the collection and distribution of food. These industrious young women hold integral positions in the nonprofit organization. The RFH Spanish National Honor Society and the RFH Key Club have also been active participants in community outreach activities. The group works closely with Linares Market in Red Bank, who tirelessly fill orders of “starter packs” and “perishable food packs” for the families. Most recently sizable donations were received from the GRBWI, ShopRite of Shrewsbury and the Monmouth County Young Democrats.
The mission statement of Compañeros de Comida is to provide 12 weeks of food deliveries during school summer breaks and States of Emergencies. At the end of 12 weeks, families will either achieve food security, or be referred to a community agency for long term services. Eligible families can also receive two additional weeks of food delivery during winter and spring breaks. Stant also envisions a toy and book drive to coincide with winter break as well as baby starter packs when a baby is born.
Clay states that “Today more than ever, our local food banks are stretched beyond capacity. This partnership offers a unique opportunity for RBR alumni to work with RFH students and other community groups to build bridges within the Two Rivers area.” Community members can assist by making a tax deductible monetary donation (link below) or by donating non-perishable items to 233 Hance Road, Fair Haven.
https://www.rbrhs.org/Page/1577 (Click food relief button: Compañeros de Comida)