Fill-the-Bag event returns to Rockville Centre

Volunteers needed to bag Thanksgiving meals


One of the largest food charity events in the tri-state area returns on Nov. 20 after a one-year hiatus. Hundreds of men, women and children will donate their time to fill more than 15,000 bags of non-perishable food items to create Thanksgiving meals for those in need.

Robert Jesberger, owner and president of Mid Island Collision — on Lakeview Avenue in Rockville Centre — has donated more than $200,000 for the cause. This includes the purchase of four tractor trailer loads of canned corn, ham, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, fruit cocktail, string beans, boxed stuffing and mashed potatoes, which is intended to feed more than 130,000 people.

The unique event allows residents of all walks of life to donate their time to fill grocery bags, which will be picked up by more than 100 food charities, homeless shelters, church pantries, military veterans organizations and other non-profits throughout Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Our financially struggling neighbors down the street, homeless individuals, veterans — no adult or child should go hungry, especially during this time of year,” Jesberger said. “Fill-The-Bag is my personal way of helping as many people as possible have a Thanksgiving meal.”

Jesberger, a passionate philanthropist, started a Thanksgiving-related food charity 25 years ago, which eventually transformed into the Fill-The-Bag event to give everyone a chance to give back to their community. To date, he has donated more than $2 million to aid those in need.

“Every bag matters” he said, “and while this effort is long removed from being able to end hunger, we can make a significant difference in providing humanity during a special time of year.”

Volunteers are invited to Fill-The-Bag at Mid Island Collision — 20 Lakeview Ave — on Nov. 20 and 21 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Food charities must pre-register by contacting the event team at (516) 829-8374 or Pick-up will take place on Nov. 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.