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Letter to the Editor

It’s no secret that more of our neighbors are struggling to put food on the table, in the wake of so many challenges these last few years. Covid, inflation and rising housing costs have made it difficult for so many people to make ends meet- and healthy food is often the first thing to get sacrificed by families trying to stretch every dollar.

At the same time, billions of pounds of nourishing food are thrown away each year in New Jersey alone.

The problem with hunger isn’t a lack of food in our world, our country, or our state. There is enough food to go around. Enough for every person who isn’t sure where their next meal will come from, every parent who skimps on groceries so they can pay rent and keep the lights on, every kid who goes to school without breakfast. We simply need to get the healthy food to where it is most needed.

As New Jersey’s first food rescue, Table to Table does exactly that- ensuring hundreds of thousands of our neighbors have access to fresh, nutritious food, and helping the planet at the same time, by keeping food out of landfills.

And we certainly don’t do it alone. It’s a collaborative process. Our fleet of refrigerated trucks is out on the road all week long, along with our incredible and growing team of volunteers who use our I-Rescue App. Our drivers and volunteers pick up fresh food from generous donors, including grocers throughout northern New Jersey like Trader Joe’s (Westwood), Wegmans (Montvale), Whole Foods Market (Woodcliff Lake), ShopRite (Emerson), and Kins and ShopRite (Hillsdale).

Once picked up from these locations, the fresh, nutritious food is delivered directly to pantries, shelters and group homes, and other nonprofit partners embedded in our communities. We provide food in Westwood at St. Andrews, Parkside Community, Connex4NPO, and the Annie Clyde Holt Food Pantry. We also provide fresh and perishable food to Children’s Aid & Family Services Group Homes in both Park Ridge and Montvale.

These are just a few of the amazing food donors and partner agencies that have contributed to the impact that Table to Table has made since our inception 25 years ago.

On the first weekend in 1999, with a single borrowed van and a few compassionate staff members and volunteers, we set out to not only rescue and deliver food, but to nourish the body, mind, and soul. Today- more than 311 million meals later- we continue to rescue and deliver fresh foods that help people live healthier lives, bring back memories of home-cooked meals from childhood, and help people feel cared for- that’s when we know we’re truly making a difference.

As Table to Table celebrates its 25th Anniversary, we want to share our deep gratitude with our donors, partners, volunteers, and staff. And we want to invite you to celebrate this milestone with us, by helping us meet our goal of rescuing and delivering enough food for 25 million meals this year.

You can volunteer to be a “Food Rescue Hero” through our I-Rescue App. You can donate, knowing that every dollar you give supports the rescue and delivery of 10 healthy meals. You can attend an event and connect in person with our growing community of supporters. Join our Drive for 25, www.tabletotable.org/drive-for-25 to learn how you can help keep our impact going and growing. Lets end food waste, and end hunger for our neighbors- together!

Heather Thomspson,
Executive Director
Table to Table

Credit: https://issuu.com/thepressgroup/docs/pascack_press_4.15.24?fr=sMGJjODYzMDE3MTA

It was in this week in 1999 that an effort to feed the hungry launched in North Jersey. Table to Table has made a tremendous impact in the Garden State 25 years later.

The group organized an Easter dinner ham drive this week at Seton Hall Prep in West Orange. Over the last 25 years, the group was responsible for offering 311 million meals in northern New Jersey.

The group now has an app to make food donation, collection and volunteering easy.

More information can be found HERE.

Credit: https://newjersey.news12.com/jersey-proud-charity-table-to-table-celebrates-25-years-serving-the-community

Table to Table, a local non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing fresh, healthy food and delivering it to those who need it most, has received a $75,000 grant from Bank of America (BofA). The organization tells Pascack Press the grant will “help feed more hungry neighbors while improving economic mobility in Northern New Jersey.”

Table to Table collects fresh and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it, free of charge, to more than 200 partner organizations that serve hungry people in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Passaic Counties through a network of fresh produce markets and centralized distribution hubs.

Among the participants: Children’s Aid and Family Services’ group homes in Montvale and Park Ridge. And in Westwood, through the Table to Table I-Rescue app, Table to Table delivers fresh, nutritious food to Annie Clyde Holt Food Pantry, Parkside Community Church, and St. Andrew’s Church.

“The tremendous support of Bank of America allows us to establish and grow innovative programs to feed even more hungry neighbors such as the Table to Table I-Rescue App, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and I-Rescue Lunch,” said Denise Anderson, Table to Table’s executive director. “We appreciate BofA’s generous support and continued investment in our Northern NJ community.”

The grant is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development for individuals and families.

Alberto Garofalo, Bank of America New Jersey’s president, said in a statement, “Since 1999, Table to Table has reached deep into communities in need to deliver fresh, healthy food to no/low-income families. We are excited to support them in their continued efforts to eliminate food insecuirty.”

For more information visit tabletotable.org/i-rescue

Credit: Pascack Press

Harrison Elementary School in Livingston received Table to Table’s 2023 Bernard and Geraldine Segal Foundation for Student Philanthropy for their outstanding fundraising efforts in support of the Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch initiative. The students’ dedication helped raise $1,459.54 to reduce food waste and provide 14,600 meals to food-insecure neighbors in Northern NJ. The initiative invited participants to donate what they would spend on lunch for a day, week, month or more to help Table to Table reduce food waste and feed those who need it most.

Tablet to Table’s Executive Director, Heather Thompson, commended the students for their community leadership and recognized their remarkable impact on addressing food insecurity. Thanks to a challenge grant from the Bernard and Geraldine Segal Foundation, the funds raised by Harrison Elementary School and other participating schools were generously doubled, amplifying their contribution to the cause. For more information go to: tabletotable.org/bagalunch

Credit: https://issuu.com/vicinity/docs/01-71_essex_0324se_lr

By: Matt Trapani and Kurt Siegelin

There is a charity program in New Jersey called “Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch.” School kids around the Garden State are not only raising awareness about food insecurity but doing something about it.

Students at Harrison Elementary School in Livingston are the top fundraiser in the state for the charity Table to Table. They raised enough money for 14,600 meals.

The kids handed over a check for $1,500. By doing so, they earned the Segal Foundation Award for student philanthropy.

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Table to Table, New Jersey’s first food rescue organization, is recognizing Livingston’s Harrison Elementary School in Livingston with the 2023 Bernard and Geraldine Segal Foundation Award for Student Philanthropy after students raised enough funds to create 14,600 meals as part of Table to Table’s “Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch” initiative.

According to the organization, Harrison Elementary School was the top fundraiser out of dozens that participated in this initiative, which invites students to donate what they would spend on lunch for a day, week, month or more to help Table to Table reduce food waste and feed those who need it most.

“The power harnessed by these Harrison Elementary students to be true community heroes—reducing food waste, while also feeding thousands of New Jersey neighbors facing food insecurity—is nothing short of incredible,” said Heather Thompson, executive director at Table to Table. “With this impressive level of community leadership, the future is truly bright.”

Harrison Elementary School teacher Sara Calabrese, who also serves as student council co-advisor, explained that the school has been an ongoing supporter of Table to Table’s Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch initiative because “preserving the environment and reducing food insecurity are two incredibly important issues to the students of Harrison Elementary.”

“Our Student Council played a critical role in mobilizing the student body to support the program,” said fellow teacher and co-advisor Stephanie Siu. “The results are impressive, and we are all honored to be recognized for our efforts.”

Table to Table collects fresh and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve people experiencing hunger in Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic counties.

According to the organization, the funds raised through Harrison Elementary School will rescue and deliver enough food for 14,600 healthy meals for those in need throughout Northern New Jersey. 

The Bernard and Geraldine Segal Foundation—which established a challenge grant of $30,000 among all Bag a Lunch, Help a Bunch participating schools in Northern New Jersey—has since doubled all funds raised during the 2023 initiative.

Additional sponsors of this mission included: Presenting Sponsors BD and Inserra Supermarkets; Gold Sponsor Kearny Bank; Silver Sponsors Aspen, Cross River Bank, Firmenich Charitable Foundation, Takasago and The Children’s Place; and Bronze Sponsors DoorDash, Freedom Bank, Movado and PNC Bank. To learn more or to make a contribution, visit www.tabletotable.org.

Credit: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/livingston/sections/education/articles/livingston-s-harrison-elementary-school-earns-award-after-raising-funds-for-14-600-meals

Saddle Brook-based Table to Table, New Jersey’s first food rescue organization, named nonprofit veteran Heather Thompson as its new executive director. In this role, Thompson will oversee all aspects of the organization, including strategic planning; development; supporter and partner engagement; revenue and grant management; operations; and community and government relations.

“We are excited to have Heather onboard as she brings to Table to Table more than two decades of experience of building community support to drive social change,” says Greg Mueller, chairman of the Board, Table to Table. “She will be a tremendous asset and will be pivotal in amplifying our mission of providing fresh, healthy food to those in need.”

For nearly 25 years, Thompson has worked for various not-for-profit organizations in New York and New Jersey to create growth strategies, build meaningful relationships with partners, donors, and volunteers, and support the needs of those under-represented within the community.

“The impact Table to Table has made in Northern New Jersey is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Thompson. “I am incredibly excited about my new post and the opportunity to continue the growth of this important organization. At a time when more and more of our neighbors face food insecurity, and there is a growing focus on ending food waste in our country, the mission and work of Table to Table has never been more vital.”

Before signing on to Table to Table, Thompson served as chief development officer for Norwescap, a comprehensive anti-poverty nonprofit that reaches more than 30,000 people each year in Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon, Warren, and Somerset counties. There, she oversaw a wide array of programs that helped people address both immediate and long-term needs, so they can move away from poverty and towards a more thriving future.

Prior to Norwescap, Thompson’s career has included roles at Eva’s Village (Paterson), Park Avenue Armory (NYC), and Citymeals-on-Wheels (NYC). She has also provided pro-bono consulting support to multiple nonprofits in New York and New Jersey. She serves as president of the Board of Trustees for the Bloomfield Public Library and chairs the Nonprofit Roundtable for the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. She is a resident of Bloomfield, where she lives with her husband and son.

Credit: https://njbmagazine.com/njb-news-now/table-to-table-names-thompson-executive-director/

Residents in need have received more than 2 million pounds of donated food through Saddle Brook-based Table to Table’s I-Rescue app. The nonprofit group, which “rescues” fresh food that would’ve been discarded by restaurants and stores, launched the smartphone app about two years ago to connect volunteers with participating businesses. With the tech on their phones, delivery volunteers can keep tabs on available food rescues- notifications offer restaurant locations, pick-up times windows, and donation destinations, among other info. Food is typically delivered to food pantries or group homes throughout New Jersey.

“Table to Table I-Rescue has gone from just a kernel of an idea two years ago to a major food source for feeding our hungry New Jerseyans today,” says Julie Kinner, Vice President of Operations at Table to Table. Find out how to volunteer at tabletotable.org.

Credit: https://issuu.com/wainscotmedia/docs/bergen_february_2024_issuu