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Mendham Student Helps Food Drive a Ton

Actually, 2.5 tons to be exact. That's how much was raised, and Patch helped.

If you are in high school and June is approaching, you’re thinking about all the things you need to get done before the summer starts–studying, exams, year-end sports tournaments and banquets, graduations, lining up a summer job and hopefully some summer fun. Tim Lonergan of Chatham High School and Brendan Lewis of were thinking about all of these things but were also thinking about helping the hungry, too. So in their spare time, they raised over 2.5 tons of food for the Salvation Army. You read that right, 2.5 tons!

When Lonergan and Lewis decided that they wanted to help the hungry before school closed for the summer, they decided to set up and run their food drives on YouGiveGoods.com. When they found out they could set up a contest between their two drives–it was game on! Pitting the two rival high schools to see who could help out the most was a no brainer. The two high school students set their drives up to support the Salvation Army–Mendham to support the Dover Corp and Chatham to support the Morristown Corps. The drives began on June 1, and ended three weeks later on June 21. The result was over $10,000 worth of food raised during one of the busiest times of the year. Measured another way, they raised over 2.5 tons of food.

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Divisional Director of Human Services for the Salvation Army NJ Division Brenda Beavers said, “We were thrilled to see such tremendous support from both of these communities. Summer is always tough for us. This food will give the Morristown Corps and the Dover Corps a big boost.”

Delivery day was July 3. How did the two high school boys–neither of whom is old enough to drive–deliver all of that food? 

“One of the reasons I decided to run my drive at YouGiveGoods was their delivery service," Lewis said. "They delivered all of the food my drive raised directly to the Dover Corps.  I didn’t have to ask my Mom or Dad to drive me around to pick up the food to make the delivery. And all that food wouldn’t have fit in my parents car anyway."

Lewis did ask his parents to drive him to the Salvation Army Dover Corps to meet the YouGiveGoods delivery truck.

“It was cool," he said. "I helped to unload some of the food and met some of the people working at the Salvation Army.” 

Lonergan did ask his parents to deliver some of the food.

“When I set up my drive, I set it up on the YouGiveGoods website and I also set up a traditional drive at school," he said. "I put a collection box in the school lobby. “

He estimated that about 95 percent of the food donated to his drive came from the YouGiveGoods website.

“I think people find it a lot easier to donate that way," Lonergan said. "I like it because I can thank everyone who donated online. I have no idea who put the food in the box at school–so I have no way to thank them.”

For the record, the Chatham High School drive “beat” the Mendham High School drive. Lonergan’s drive totaled over $6,000 worth of food and Lewis’ drive raised almost $4,000 worth of food.    

Would the boys do it again?

“This is the first food drive I’ve ever organized," Lewis said. "I learned a lot. I didn’t realize that there are so many people in Morris County who need help. I definitely plan to do this again in the future. And I’ll challenge Chatham to a rematch when I do."

“Yeah, I’ll do this again," Lonergan said. "The Chatham community really supported my drive. How the drive turned out blew away my expectations. It felt good to help out the Salvation Army and it was exciting to compete with Brendan’s drive. If he challenges me for a rematch–I’ll be ready.”

To check out the Contest Scoreboard and the final results, go to: www.YouGiveGoods.com/ChathamHSMendhamHSFoodDriveContest

YouGiveGoods is based in Mendham. The company’s website, YouGiveGoods.com, was developed to make it easier for people and organizations to set up and run in-kind charity drives, including food drives and animal shelter drives.  The site provides free services to charities and makes it simpler for people to donate goods to the charities they want to support. The innovative technology platform is designed to inspire people to give and help others.

If you would like more information how you can help Salvation Army programs throughout the state, please contact Judith Anderson at 908-851-8236 or email her at judith.anderson@use.salvationarmy.org.

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