Alder Avenue Middle School students presented a check for $1,000 to “Let Us Eat Please,” an organization that provides free meals to students who do not have access to free or reduced-rate breakfast and lunch when school is out of session. The students had raised the funds during their 2017 Martin Luther King Day of Service project, a flea market fundraiser.
The students surprised Kenneth J. Calemmo, chief operating officer of Cooper Levenson and chairman of “Let Us Eat, Please,” with the check at the Egg Harbor Twp. school board meeting on May 9. Calemmo had been asked to do a presentation on the charity.
“Families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table or paying rent or electric bills,” said Calemmo. “The students at Alder Avenue are helping to make sure that they don’t have to. At their young age, they’re already making a difference.”
“Let Us Eat, Please” was started by Calemmo’s former colleague, James Cooper, founder of Cooper Levenson. Cooper created the organization at the request of his daughter who saw firsthand the effects of hunger on her students in the Englewood, Bergen County school system.
‘Let Us Eat, Please’ provides boxes of food every two weeks during the summer to families who are eligible for the federal free or reduced-fee meal program at school. Last summer, the group served more than 25,000 meals to families in Ventnor, Somers Point and Egg Harbor City, where there is a high percentage of students in the federal meal program. In Somers Point and Ventnor, about 60 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-rate meals. In Egg Harbor City, about 80 percent of students are eligible.
Pictured from left to right: Teacher John Jones, Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr., chief operating officer Cooper Levenson, Alder Avenue Middle School students Aiden Stratoti, Colbee Obermeyer, Emma Liang, Isabella Shobe, and Franchesca Valera. Principal Joe Marinelli is in the back row. Missing from the picture is Isabella Mardigian.