Auto Repair Business Turns Scrap Aluminum Into Food Donation

By Kristen Coppock
Staff writer
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MOUNT LAUREL — A local business has turned scrap metal into 100 cases of peanut butter and jelly.

Lakeside Collision CARSTAR on Marne Highway has donated the sandwich fillers to help fight hunger in the region.

Owner Dave Thompson said his staff of 12 earned about $2,000 by recycling unusable aluminum car parts, such as wheels, radiators and condensers.

“We put it aside all year,” Thompson said. “Aluminum parts are worth more money than steel.”

The 100 cases were scheduled to be delivered Thursday to FM radio station WMMR’s annual Preston and Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger campaign, he said.

From Nov. 28 through Friday, radio hosts Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison are camping at the Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., where they are broadcasting their morning show, to solicit and collect food donations. Items also are being collected at area Acme stores.

The food will be given to Philabundance for distribution. The nonprofit organization serves nine counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Marianne Lynch, director of development for Philabundance, said Camp Out for Hunger is the organization’s largest collection drive each year. In 2010, it generated about 527,000 pounds of food.

“It really rallies the community around something like hunger,” Lynch said. “It makes people realize that they have an impact.”

Philabundance serves more than 900,000 people in need, according to its website. It provides food to families through its direct programs and to more than 500 member agencies, such as pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens. About 23 percent of its recipients are children.

“We serve about 65,000 people a week,” Lynch said. “That might be your neighbor.”

Four of the agencies served by Philabundance are in Burlington County: Abundant Life Fellowship in Edgewater Park, Burlington City’s senior recreation program, E&L Caring Center in Riverside, and SisterHood Inc., also in Burlington City.

The Lakeside Collision CARSTAR team has been donating peanut butter and jelly to the WMMR campaign for three years.

“As a kid, I remember pretty much living off of it,” Thompson said.

Peanut butter and jelly are on Philabundance’s list of high-priority needs.

“Peanut butter is a hot commodity these days,” Lynch said.

Full of protein, creamy peanut butter has a child-friendly appeal. A large donation is especially significant when considering a recent 30 percent rise in the cost, she said.

Thompson said his small business’ contribution is simply a way to “give back” to the community he has worked in for nearly 30 years.

“We do a bunch of things all year,” he said. “This is one of the biggest.”

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