ORANGE – “This is our training room,” explains Susan von Rabenstein, the Aquatics Director at the Orange Parks and Recreation Department, noting that this room now also acts as a food pantry.
“Hungry children just shouldn’t happen,” says this Milford mom of two grown daughters who founded the effort, modeled after Milford Food 2 Kids, where von Rabenstein volunteered.
“I asked, ‘Do we think this is an Orange problem, as well?’ And they said, ‘Absolutely, it’s an everywhere problem. It’s just something people don’t think about,” she says.
So, with the help of a few friends, von Rabenstein founded Orange Food 2 Kids at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We started delivering the day school ended,” she says.
At the height, delivering 200 bags per week to family’s doors.
“We added fresh fruit and vegetables, we added hummus and yogurt,” says von Rabenstein, explaining the packing process. “We have a group of volunteers that are Amity High School students who are getting community service hours, they do all the packing.”
She’s worried that school beginning – as we fight the Delta variant – could increase demand: “If businesses close again, I think that had a huge impact the last time around.”
Recipients contact her directly through email or Facebook, sharing the number of kids, address and any food allergy requirements.
“The idea is that everything can be prepared by the child if that’s their circumstance,” says von Rabenstein who shops frugally with funds from a very supportive community, doing good with a humble spirit.
“It doesn’t take a lot of my time anymore – it’s a small act, it really is and it’s just nice to know that it makes a difference to someone,” she says.
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