On Sunday, November 25th, the Milford Elks Lodge #1589, held their 1st annual First Responders Food 2 Kids Food Drive. The drive was a collaborative effort between the Milford Elks, the Milford Police Department, the Milford Fire Department, and Access/Nelson Ambulance Service to support the Food 2 Kids program. The drive was an enormous success, filling both the Food 2 Kids’ pantry and their overflow storage. It also raised almost $1,400 in monetary donations.
First responders were stationed at both Milford Stop & Shop locations and Milford ShopRite. Members of the Milford Elks lodge were present at each location. The police, firemen, and EMS responders positioned themselves at each location with a common goal to fill their respective emergency vehicles.
The friendly competition had responders rivaling to collect the most food. Nelson Ambulance brought the holiday spirit to the competition with decorations and music. Joseph Soto, a paramedic who works for Nelson, and also a member of the Milford Elks, was responsible for organizing the event. “The idea was to arrange a friendly competition between the emergency response services,” said Soto. “It was an amazing cooperation across the board that showed what a wonderful and supportive community we have here in Milford! The event was a grand slam!”
The Food 2 Kids ministry is organized and operated by the First United Church of Christ in Milford. The program is intended to provide food to children in the school system who have been identified as having little to no food resources. Food 2 Kids sends each child home for the weekend with a bag of food to sustain them. Donations are specific to food items children can prepare without supervision.
Pastor Ashley Grant, who oversees the ministry, was completely in awe. “What an amazing event! Thank you for the outpouring of generosity of time and food and donations from the Milford Police Department, Milford Fire Department, Nelson & Access Ambulance and Milford Elks. These great folks spent many hours on Sunday collecting donations at local grocery stores, and then sorting items at our packing site!” she wrote on her Facebook page.
“The idea came to me when we were discussing ways we could further support some of the local organizations close to the heart of the Milford Elks. The Food 2 Kids program is one of those programs that displays the compassion of the City of Milford,” said Exalted Ruler, Rob Muoio. “We were lucky to have all the first responders jump right on board and make this event the success it was. And, of course, all the community residents who were generous in their donations.”
The Milford Elks has adopted the Food 2 Kids program as one of their local projects. The Milford Elks Lodge #1589 First Responders Food 2 Kids Food Drive was the third event joining the Elks and Food 2 Kids. They plan to continue this partnership in 2019.
For more information on the Milford Elks or the Food 2 Kids Program, please visit milfordelks.com or milfordfood2kids.org.