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'Why Didn't Anybody Think Of This Before?': Man Collecting Jersey Shore Vacationers' Leftover Food To Feed Hungry Families

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- Thousands of renters are at the Jersey Shore enjoying a summer vacation. They've stocked up on food but may not eat it all. Well now those leftovers don't have to go to waste.

As crowds of beach and boardwalk lovers enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer at the shore, they might not be aware the vacation hubs of Cape May and Atlantic Counties have some of New Jersey's highest rates of families who are hungry.

"It's summertime, everyone is on vacation. Everyone is away. Nobody is really thinking about what's happening behind the scenes," Renate Taylor, with Community Food Bank of New Jersey, said.

Well, Todd Lauer is. Lauer is the building supervisor at Ocean City Middle School. And fresh off a family vacation this year, he had unused food on his mind.

"We always over-brought at the grocery store. We said, 'let's think of some way we can redo this or reuse it,'" Lauer said.

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He approached the school's shop teacher with the idea of creating a food drop-off bin out front of the school so people renting at the shore during the summer could date their extras.

ocean city food
Credit: CBS3

Pretty soon, about 20 students got to work.

Now each week, Lauer drops off non-perishable items to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Egg Harbor Township, which moves more than 1 million pounds of food through its warehouse each month.

"To me, the moment I was contacted by the school, I thought why didn't anybody think of this before? We're a vacation town, we're a vacation community and we're grateful for those vacationers but you know what give us your cans, we'll take them too," Taylor said.

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While the food bank would love people to donate their unused food, they could also use unused and unopened hygiene items like soap and toothpaste. There are people in the area that could really use them.

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