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Bergen Teens With Autism Collect Food For Saddle Brook Pantry

The Forum School students collect food at Wyckoff Stop & Shop. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Forum School students display collected food donations. Photo Credit: Contributed
Grace Brockel of the Center for Food Action stands with Forum School teacher Joseph Dietzold. Photo Credit: Contributed

WALDWICK, N.J. – Students with autism at The Forum School in Waldwick are working hard so friends and neighbors will not go hungry this winter.

Students in the school’s Learning Independence For Tomorrow (LIFT) program are collecting food for the Center for Food Action (CFA), a Bergen County non-profit with a mission to prevent hunger and homelessness and improve the lives of individuals and families living in poverty.

“This year we collected 1,141 food items and $367.00,” said Joseph Dietzold, who has taught special education at the school for 34 years and directs the initiative. “It always gets me choked up when I see that look on a student’s face when they realize they are helping families who don’t have enough food to eat.”

Classes began the activity several years ago, and last year, they started delivering the food to CFA’s Saddle Brook location.

In addition to benefiting local families in need, the initiative offers students with autism the opportunity to learn a range of social and life skills. Students create and distribute flyers, interact with customers at the Stop & Shop in Wyckoff to ask for donations, sort food into categories, and then track and deliver the food and money collected.

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