Since 2008, Arm In Arm has benefited from the vital support of Yes We CAN! Food Drives, a volunteer organization dedicated to alleviating hunger in Mercer County. Our friends and partners at Yes We CAN! contribute mightily to our Hunger Prevention program by collecting food at local grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and donating that food to fill the shelves and refrigerators of Arm In Arm food pantries.
Shoppers at McCaffrey’s in Princeton, Pennington Quality Market, and ShopRite in Hamilton are asked by friendly Yes We CAN! volunteers to purchase extra produce or non-perishable goods as they make their way through the stores. Similarly, visitors at the West Windsor and Princeton farmers’ markets are encouraged to donate fresh fruit and produce as they shop Generous farmers often donate their remaining inventory or sell it to volunteers at a reduced price as markets close, and money collected is spent on purchasing even more. What bounty!
When Arm In Arm arrives to collect the donations, everything is loaded into our van and delivered to our food pantries in Trenton on Princeton. Then it is weighed, and the impact of Yes We CAN! is undeniable. In this fiscal year alone, from January 2017 through June 2018, Yes We CAN! has collected and donated 24,513 pounds of produce, cans, and boxes, which go directly to food insecure neighbors who turn to us to help them feed their families. Men, women, and children throughout Mercer County, more than 4,000 of whom visit Arm In Arm food pantries every year, gain access to more healthy, fresh food thanks to the dedication of volunteers at Yes We CANI
Kim Kyte, the Yes We CAN! volunteer who coordinates with the West Windsor Farmers’ Market, says, “These relationships speak to the commitment that the farmers and customers have to help people who need food. We sometimes hear from the customers that at one point they needed help and their donations are a way of them giving back … these special relationships are woven together and speak of empathy, kindness, generosity and awareness.” This sentiment also rings true for volunteer Marian Dielhof, who says, “My Grandma was in her 20’s during World War II and lived through the ‘hunger winter’ in The Netherlands … hearing these stories growing up makes you take care of others.” Caring for neighbors in need is at the very root of what Yes We CAN! does.
Our history with Yes We CAN! demonstrates the value of community partnerships Since its founding they have supported the Arm In Arm Hunger Prevention program with an astonishing 148 tons of food. Volunteer Fran Engler sums it up beautifully when she says, “Picture 25 elephants at 12,000 pounds apiece and you will envision the amount we have collected at food markets and farmers’ markets from generous customers and merchants. With the need growing ever greater, we are dedicated to continuing our march of the elephants”
Yes We CAN! proves that we truly are better together!