Honoring their work in fighting hunger, First Lady Mary Pat Christie and the New Jersey Heroes Foundation have designated three deserving individuals as nominees for the August online New Jersey Hero poll. The three candidates – Adam Lowy of Move for Hunger, Gary Oppenheimer of AmpleHarvest.org and Kristina Guttadora of Farmers Against Hunger are being recognized for their hunger prevention efforts throughout the Garden State.
“Each of this month’s nominees has worked tirelessly on behalf of New Jersey families and individuals in need,” said First Lady Mary Pat Christie.” At a time when so many in our communities are experiencing food insecurity, these organizations are making a difference and ensuring that impacted families have the necessities to put a meal on the table. Our August candidates clearly represent the best of New Jersey Heroes.”
Beginning today, August 10th through August 31st, the public will have an opportunity to choose the August New Jersey Hero by visiting http://newjerseyheroes.org/index/poll/ to cast their selection.
This is the third New Jersey Hero being determined by the public via an online poll posted to the New Jersey Heroes website. There were more than 20,000 votes cast overall for May’s New Jersey Heroes candidates.
Voters can cast their ballots once per day until the poll ends at 10:00 am on August 31st. The August New Jersey Hero will be announced later that afternoon via press release.
The August New Jersey Heroes nominees are:
Adam Lowy – Move for Hunger (Neptune, Monmouth County)
Adam Lowy is the founder and Executive Director of Move For Hunger, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing food waste and fighting hunger. Having grown up working alongside his family’s NJ moving company, Adam saw firsthand the incredible amount of food that was wasted when people moved. As a solution, they started offering their customers the opportunity to donate their food when they moved. The moving company was in the home anyway and would offer to deliver it to the local food bank. By simply asking a question, 300 lbs. of food was delivered in just one month. Adam knew this process needed to be replicated nationwide. In just five short years, Move For Hunger has built a network of over 600 movers dedicated to eliminating food waste and delivering more meals. Today, we have delivered over 5.2 million pounds of food to those in need, but there is still so much more to do. We find it hard to believe that while 50 million Americans struggle with hunger, 40% of food processed in the US will end up in a landfill. The generous support of this award will enable Move For Hunger to expand our impact and ensure that nutritious life-saving food does not end up in the trash. Learn more at https://moveforhunger.org/what-we-do/
Gary Oppenheimer – AmpleHarvest.org (Newfoundland, Passaic County)
AmpleHarvest.org is a 50 state solution to hunger and malnutrition founded by Gary Oppenheimer (a CNN Hero). This one of a kind program is enabling America’s 42 million home/community gardeners (35% of all households) along with small farmers, share their excess bounty with one of nearly 300 New Jersey food pantries/soup kitchens plus another 7,200 nationwide, that help nourish about 10 million food insecure people. AmpleHarvest.org educates, encourages and for the first time, enables these gardeners who have 5+ billion pounds of excess food, to share this bounty thereby creating a recurring, sustainable and lifelong link between the gardeners, and the desperate need for the fresh food in the same community. What makes this different from any other food/gleaning program is its extreme efficiency and that it instantly scales to reach any town in America. The free supply of excess food gardeners end up with annually, its cost free transportation (the grower herself) to the food programs, as well as the Internet were all pieces that needed to be joined together. By using information, social media and technology to connect these dots, AmpleHarvest.orghelping millions of gardeners reach into their backyard instead of their back pocket to help their neighbors in need get healthier food harvested only hours earlier. This small but hugely impactful non-profit from New Jersey is America’s cloud based solution to hunger. The idea and the ideal is “No Food Left Behind”. Learn more at www.AmpleHarvest.org/TED
Kristina Guttadora – Farmers Against Hunger (Bordentown, Burlington County)
The New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) program has been “harvesting for the hungry” since 1996. It all began when a group of farmers and legislators were on a farm tour and recognized the need to efficiently move surplus fresh produce to those in need. Ever since, FAH works to collect 1.3 million pounds of food annually from farms, grocery stores and wholesale suppliers. Farmers Against Hunger is a truly collaborative organization, helping over 70 partner agencies, including the state food banks, soup kitchens and pantries by providing free donations. “Glean teams.” engaging 1200 community volunteers annually, come to local farms to help harvest extra produce which may otherwise be plowed under. Communities become directly engaged in the mission and volunteers gain an understanding of New Jersey’s rich agricultural heritage and the relationship between their food, food waste and food insecurity. Recovering everything from apples to zucchini, recipients line up to receive these bountiful, New Jersey crops which are often not available at their pantries. For a struggling mother, this donation could enable her to have enough ears of corn for every family member; for a senior citizen, this donation could provide the fresh produce that is necessary for his/her health conditions; and for a child, this donation could be the first taste of fresh peach and the beginning of an understanding of what it means to make healthy food choices. Kristina Guttadora leads the Farmers Against Hunger effort as Program Director and Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. As just one of two full time employees, Kristina relies on an amazing support team of part-time seasonal staff, volunteers, partners and board members to operate the Garden State’s first and broadest farm gleaning program. Learn more athttp://www.njagsociety.org/farmers-against-hunger.html
New Jersey Heroes is an initiative First Lady Mary Pat Christie began in 2010 to showcase the positive and unique ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey and their communities. To nominate a hero, go to newjerseyheroes.org and follow the application instructions to submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.