The Meadowlands Area YMCA food pantry that serves Bergen and Hudson Counties raised than $846,000 at their annual Heart of the Meadowlands Gala at Il Villaggio in Carlstadt last week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
More than 100 companies and individuals made contributions, including a naming gift of $250,000 from Ed Russo and the Russo Family Foundation of Russo Development for the Russo Family Food Pantry.
“The Y is a lot of things to a lot of people, and within six years of opening our doors we’re not only a center for fitness, wellness and daycare – we are one of the largest social services agencies in Bergen County,” Meadowlands Area YMCA Board Chair Ron Simoncini, who has held the post for 11 years, said in a statement.
“Our goal of 240 attendees was as important as our fundraising goal, and the fact that we will host more than 300 is very gratifying.”
The Gala honored Ed Russo of Russo Development, John Saraceno, Jr. of Onyx Equities, Jose Lozano of Hackensack Meridian Health, and Table to Table, out of appreciation for their commitment to the Meadowlands community and their generous donations of the food pantry.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Meadowlands Area YMCA food pantry, largely coordinated by volunteers has distributed more than 2.5 million meals.
“After the gala we will continue to cultivate support for the food pantry as our intention is for it to operate in perpetuity,” added Meadowlands Area YMCA CEO David Kisselback.
“We want to make sure we satisfy both cohorts because we see license plates from out of state that will wait in line for three-hours to get a $20 box of food, and that shows how drastic the situation has become.”
The YMCA food pantry primarily serves Bergen and Hudson Counties with weekly service, whereas its monthly food distribution program has a broader geography and is open to anyone who gets in line, which is frequently 300 cars long.