Somerset Patriots Help Continue Tradition of Giving with Donation of Holiday Meals for Local Families
Bridgewater, New Jersey- The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, along with Flemington Car & Truck Country, Clinton Honda, and Jaguar Land Rover Princeton are donating holiday meals and personal care items to local families through the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and the Flemington Area Food Pantry.
The donation for Somerset County residents was made at the Food Bank Network of Somerset County's main warehouse in Bound Brook on Friday, November 19th. Jonathan Kalafer and his son Broden were joined by Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry, team mascot Sparkee, County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson, Commissioner Douglas Singleterry and the President of the Board of Directors of the Somerset County Food Bank Network, Gordon White.
"Anybody who is in need, or has ever been in need, the first thing people think of is 'what am I going to eat tonight,'" said White. "It's not 'do I pay the rent or do I go to a doctor?' It's how do I feed myself and how am I going to feed my family. If we can't meet that first level of support, people don't have the will or the energy or the mental stamina to devote to anything else."
The mission of The Food Bank Network is to distribute food and to provide other basic human needs to those less fortunate in the community in a manner which recognizes and advances self-worth and human dignity. The Food Bank Network of Somerset County is incorporated as a charitable, not-for-profit organization. The majority of their food and funding are donations provided by individuals, families, philanthropic organizations, businesses and corporations of all sizes. For more information, or to make a food or monetary donation, please visit somersetfoodbank.org.
"Donations this time of year are important to the fabric of what makes family and communities a community," said Commissioner Director Robinson. "That we are all working together to make sure that we are all made whole and that we have a great time with our family and friends, but more importantly, there's nothing else that matters when you are coming together with family than coming to break bread."
Added Commissioner Singleterry, "This has been a tough time for a lot of people, and I applaud the work that the Food Bank does, and all the people that support the Food Bank, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year. This is really helping a lot of people out and the work they do is appreciated."
Giving back to the community is an important tradition for the Kalafer family and the businesses they own and operate.
"This was a core value that my father built his businesses on. I have heard countless stories of his generosity over the years and feel blessed to have learned the importance of community from him," said Jonathan Kalafer.
Steve Kalafer passed away in April from a battle with cancer. That tradition of giving back continues on to the next generation of the Kalafer family as Jonathan's 13-year-old son, Broden, lent a hand.
"I am very proud of Broden. He created a charitable initiative called 'Hearts to Help' as part of the process when he was preparing for his Bar Mitzvah last year. Even though the service requirement for his Bar Mitzvah is over, he has decided to continue on with it," said Jonathan Kalafer. "He has added personal care items to the families holiday meals through his personal fundraising and money he earned working at a hair salon on the weekends. It is hard doing this without our dad this year, but I know he would be so proud to see Broden here."
The Kalafers and Sparkee also visited the Flemington Food Pantry to make the donation for Hunterdon County residents to Executive Director, Jeannine Gorman. In addition to the donation, they also received a bag full of gift cards donated by associates and staff from the Kalafer businesses who wished to participate in the effort.
"We never had a clue of how many people would show up to our door, but we have faith that no matter how many people there are, that we have the support of the community to have everything we need in order to ensure people have the food that they need for their families," said Gorman. "For us, having strong partners like the Kalafer family and their businesses is absolutely critical to everything that we do."
Raritan Township Mayor Gary Hazard and Committeeman Jeff Kuhl were in attendance for the presentation.
"It's so great to see a family like the Kalafer family, now third generation here, that Steve taught them so well," Committeeman Kuhl said. "They always want to give back to the community that they serve. The Somerset Patriots and Flemington Car and Truck Country are great for the community and so is the Kalafer family."
The Flemington Area Food Pantry provides food and personal care items to needy Hunterdon County families regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background. The Flemington Area Food Pantry depends on the generosity of the Hunterdon County community for its very existence. Without donations of food and funds, the Pantry would not exist. More than 80% of Pantry in- come is derived from contributions of cash and groceries. For more information, or to make a donation, please visit flemingtonfoodpantry.org.
"We know these donations will help feed families and bring some joy to those in need," said Josh Kalafer, Co-Owner of Flemington Car & Truck Country and Clinton Honda, Chairman of Jaguar Land Rover Princeton, and Co-Chairman of the Patriots. "It's a way for our family, team, and dealerships to do good in our community during a time when it is very much needed. It is how our businesses have always operated under my father's guidance and they will continue to do so long into the future."
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