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Galloway students paint soup mugs to help feed struggling families

Galloway students paint soup mugs to help feed struggling families

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Last summer, 150 local families received food during the summer through a partnership with the local school district and the nonprofit group Let Us Eat, Please.

Now, students at the school are raising money for the group by painting and decorating 130 soup mugs that will be sold for $20 at the group’s annual fundraiser at the Atlantic City Boat Show on March 2.

Marilyn Moore, supervisor of guidance, health services, child care and community education for the school district, said she and Superintendent Annette Giaquinto had gone to a Let Me Eat, Please event where Chairman Ken Calemmo talked about attending an event where bowls of soup were sold to raise money.

“A chef talked about making soup, and I said we could make the bowls,” Moore said.

Art teacher Robin Auwater enlisted students and the Art Club to do the painting, mostly after school. They talked about the purpose of the project, and Moore said some participating students had received food over the summer.

Students began painting after the holiday break. Auwater said some of her multiply disabled students have painted mugs, and students are working together on ideas.

Zoe Wilson and Paige Bonner, both 12, designed an ocean scene with stars and a bright yellow star on the bottom of the inside of the cup.

Trisha Smith, 14, created a garden scene with a bright yellow sun and a bee buzzing around the mug.

“There’s also a bee in the bottom of the cup,” she said.

Kaylah Gallagher, 13, went with a more basic design, using a sponge applicator to create big polka dots around the outside of a mug. She then painted stripes on the inside.

“I already did one with polka dots on the inside,” she said.

Moore said staff have also embraced the program, raising $1,800 during a Dress Down Day to donate.

Calemmo, a local attorney, said the staff in Galloway have been tremendous supporters of the program, which keeps growing.

He said last summer about 600 families were fed in partnership with participating schools in Atlantic County. A small pilot program was started in Lower Township. The goal is to help struggling families during the summer when children are not in school and don’t have access to free meals.

The program raises $50,000 to $60,000 a year, with all funding going to buy food from the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Volunteers box it up, and it is delivered to participating schools for designated families.

The program was founded by local attorney James Cooper, who is still a large donor, Calemmo said.

“It does get harder to raise money each year,” Calemmo said. “But we have good support, and the need is not going away.”


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