Volunteers Aid State’s Community Food Bank

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HILLSIDE – Nearly three dozen NAIOP New Jersey members, staff and friends spent the day as volunteers at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFB) in Hillside, sorting and re-packing incoming donations for distribution. Conducted as NAIOP New Jersey’s annual Volunteer Day, the event was planned and directed by Community Action Committee co-chairs Janet Proscia of Cronheim Mortgage and Richard Pratt of OGP Architects.

“We were overwhelmed by the size and scope of the Food Bank’s operation,” said Michael McGuinness, chief executive officer of the New Jersey chapter of the commercial real estate development association. “It was an eye-opening and fulfilling experience, and it was a win-win effort all around.”

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“It was a fantastic experience,” said Pratt. “We should do it again next year.”

With a full-time staff of 110 and nearly 29,000 annual volunteers, CFB distributes 33 million pounds of food annually to 1,200 non-profit charities, including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, after-school programs and senior centers. Through its partner distribution services, CFB reaches an estimated 900,000 people in 18 of the state’s 21 counties.

“Demand is up by nearly 35%,” said Tim Vogel, director of the food servicing program and a former Wakefern executive, who noted that over 100 retailer organizations including supermarkets and club stores contribute about 2.6 million pounds of food per year.

“We certainly welcome the efforts of groups such as NAIOP New Jersey. We are always looking for volunteers,” Vogel said. “There is never a shortage of work.”

Besides its food distribution efforts, CFB also operates a catering service and a job training program. The organization is also about to launch a butcher training program, with ShopRite donating the necessary equipment.

NAIOP New Jersey volunteers spent the morning sorting boxes and bags of donations by category, and after lunch filled bags of food for distribution as well as much-needed clothing and supplies for CFB’s Kids Division. To date, NAIOP New Jersey members have contributed more than 1,000 pounds of food and $2,250 in cash donations through collections at their respective offices and at association events, and many of the volunteers brought donations with them.

“Our virtual drive is going to remain open,” McGuinness said. “We encourage people to go to our web site and donate as part of the virtual food drive.”

To participate in the virtual food drive, visit http://www.naiopnj.org (2010 Community Action Project page). For more information, contact Barbara Morford at 1-732-729-9900.


Volunteers from NAIOP New Jersey, a the commercial real estate development association, recently volunteered at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside. (Photo courtesy of NAIOP New Jersey)


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