NORTHFIELD — Few things cross generational lines quite like the Post Crashers.
The group is made up of students from sixth grade through high school with teachers and parent volunteers as well as several members of Harvey D. Johnson American Legion Post 295 Auxiliary. What they have done is turn a tired American Legion post that saw very infrequent use into an active center in the community. They made and painted picnic tables that are used for cookouts and other activities. A huge garden is on the property and the bounty goes to feed veterans in transitional housing as well as others who battle food insecurity. Twenty-six kids and six adults rolled up their sleeves and worked together July 28, preparing for the picnic Aug. 4.
The group has been meeting on a fairly regular basis and making lunches for the homeless and preparing full meals for veterans in transitional housing.
According to Carol Ferguson, who serves as one of the adult coordinators along with Northfield Community School seventh-grade teacher Steve Vain, the students have made about 2,000 lunches and 1,500 other meals for veterans. “These students have become such pros at making the lunches and meals. It is really remarkable. You should see how they follow a recipe,” Carol Ferguson said. “For example, while I supervise the cooking, I give the students the recipes on their own — making their barbecue sauce from scratch and the pasta salad — these are very large quantities too. Besides helping others, the kids are really learning how to cook. Now, they all say that they do not do this at home, but they should!”
For the past four years, Bradley Ferguson, a recent Mainland graduate, has been spearheading the efforts to write grants and raise funds for the Post Crashers. He will head off to Harvard in a few weeks, but Ferguson said he is committed to continue fundraising for Post Crashers. The duties of the garden at Post 295 on Mill Road in Northfield will be taken over by Tommy McGowan, an incoming Mainland junior who has been active at the Post since he was in seventh grade. Both Carol Ferguson and Steve Vain will continue on as advisers.
At a recent Post Crashers event, the kids prepped meals and cooked, worked in the garden, painted and prepped for a picnic for veterans on Aug. 4. The first two hours were spent cooking and preparing and at 3 p.m. veterans and local dignitaries stopped in to enjoy the day and to help show appreciation for what the veterans mean to the Post Crashers and the community. U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armata, Northfield Mayor Erland Chau and Atlantic County Executive Denny Levinson were on hand to talk with the kids and show the more than 20 veterans assembled at the Harvey D. Johnson Legion Post 295 a Northfield welcome.