DSC01026We Feed Chair 3

Fern Kulman, Health Educator for Woodbridge Department of Health and Human Services recently interviewed Peter Barcellona concerning his experience with collaborating with us on the Healthy Food and Food Pantry Initiative.  Peter is the Chair of “We Feed” which coordinates the local Food Pantries in Woodbridge.  He acts as the liaison between Woodbridge Township and the local Food Pantries.  Peter’s role in this initiative has been to provide outreach for the grant process to the selected pantries.  He has been instrumental in communicating to the selected food pantries in regards to the Registered Dietician’s outreach and education.  He feels that the current Grant has enhanced the Health Department’s relationship with the local food pantries and has opened up a new path of communication and cooperation between the two agencies. The Grant has provided the pantry volunteers with essential information on healthy eating.  In addition, there has been an increased awareness in the community in regards to what is considered a healthy food donation.   However, there have been some key challenges working with the Food Pantries.  Space was limited at the selected Food Pantries and thus a cooking demonstration could not be held.   Also, there was a language barrier at one selected Food Pantry since many clients there spoke only Spanish.  When asked about how we can continue to enhance our outreach Peter recommended that we continue to promote the healthy food donation list wherever we can.  Peter is making the healthy food donation flyer available at this year’s Woodbridge Summer Concert Series.  There are concerts held most days of the week and residents are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation when they attend.  He also suggested that the healthy food donation flyer be sent to the school system in the fall for inclusion in the student’s packets.  Lastly, Peter feels the ShapingNJ Grant collaboration was a success and would like to see an expansion the healthy food initiative to include another Community Garden within the Township.  This would increase the Grant’s sustainability.  He further suggested that creation of an additional Community Garden may be a good Scout project or a project for Tooling Around the Township in April 2016.


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