In 2007 The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties created the Holiday Hunger Challenge, challenging students and schools to raise food and awareness to combat the growing number of food insecure residents in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The Challenge helps to stock the FoodBank’s shelves for the busy holiday season.
Five years and over 150,000 pounds of collected food later, the Holiday Hunger Challenge went statewide as Students Change Hunger in 2012, incorporating all five food banks in New Jersey.
Students Change Hunger is open to students of all ages who want to combat hunger in New Jersey. Schools are categorized by the size of the student population. The schools then compete with each other to collect as much food as possible for their local food bank. At the end of the challenge, schools that bring in the most food are presented with awards by their local food bank.
Each of the state’s five food banks also nominate five schools from their area to compete for the competition’s most coveted award, the Governor’s Cup. Endorsed by Governor Chris Christie, the Governor’s Cup is based not only on the weight donated, but also on school spirit, active participation throughout the competition, student advocacy and community engagement.
Since its inception, the Holiday Hunger Challenge collected over 415,000 pounds of food for hungry people in our area. In 2013, 78 schools participated, collecting over 71,000 pounds of food and more than $18,000 to help families who face hunger. For more information visit www.studentschangehunger.org