Popcorn for the People Gets a New Home, Courtesy of a Caring Business Community

946de6d25058aaf95cec_IMG_6176.jpg
Marissa and Joseph work together to package the newest batch of caramel-chocolate popcorn. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
70348c75ef83148b8018_IMG_6170.jpg
The Popcorn for People production center at 5 Harts Lane, East Brunswick. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
b719c17779bc548ca3db_IMG_6171.jpg
Bags of popcorn ready to go to St. Ann's Festival in Hoboken Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
682d75e3adb32c5ea8a9_IMG_6172.jpg
Chocolate caramel popcorn is ready for packing. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
308b0fce7550c612a411_IMG_6173.jpg
Gabby labels the popcorn bags for sale. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
af3fd41d84fd76f51361_IMG_6174.jpg
Labeled bags are ready to be filled. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
56e02316d5ef3543c1b4_IMG_6175.jpg
Popcorn made fresh every day at Popcorn for the People. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
a46d8047b73960033a69_IMG_6177.jpg
Sam Bier is proud of his co-workers. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
946de6d25058aaf95cec_IMG_6176.jpg

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - 1 in every 68 children in the United States has some form of autism. 500,000 autistic students will graduate from American high schools in the next five years. 90% of adults with autism will not be employed.  These startling statistics are reported by Let's Work for Good the East Brunswick nonprofit group formed to address the need for jobs for autistic adults that provide work experience, the development of interpersonal skills, and human dignity.  Popcorn for the People is the company they managed, which, until recently, was located at the Brunswick Square Mall.  

However, due to the foresight and generosity of the local community, autistic adults can now make, pack, and distribute popcorn from their new location on Harts Lane. Agnes Cushing-Ruby, counselor and production manager at Popcorn for the People said, " This process and environment gives our people greater prospects as workers.  Many of these adults are only-children and are used to being the focus of attention.  Here, they learn to work together and to act responsibly with peers."

"Our purpose at Let’s Work for Good is to ensure that all adults with autism and developmental disabilities have the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment as a result of steady employment. Let’s face it, work is an integral part of adult life. Adults with autism and other developmental disabilities have the ability, desire and right to work. Yet the unemployment rate for this group is staggering," says Steve Bier, who began the Pop-In Cafe at the mall almost two years ago.

Sign Up for E-News

Popcorn for the People's new home at 5 Hart's Lane is both the result of the Pop-In Cafe's success at generating interest -and popular snacks- at their original location and the generosity of the Frank Greek Development Corporation of East Brunswick. The company has donated the use of the new location as a processing center for Popcorn for the People, allowing the the production of the many flavors of popcorn to continue in an environment that can address a growing business.  

Industrial shelving was provided by Titan Rack and Shelving of New Brunswick, allowing the distribution process and preparation to become more orderly than it had been at the original location.  On a recent visit to the location, shelves were filled with transport bags of popcorn earmarked for local festivals and other events.

Office furniture was donated by Ashley Home Stores of Central Jersey, a recent sponsor of East Brunswick's July 4 event.

Popcorn for the People is also the "Official Flavored Popcorn" for Rutgers University athletic events, in a partnership with The Rutgers Chapter of Enactus, an international non-profit organization that harnesses the power of entrepreneurial action to improve local communities.  Recently, Google has given Popcorn for the People over $10,000 in free advertising, according to Steve Bier.

"Autism at Work" is an initiative of local, national, and international companies.  At a recent symposium, Dr. Stephen Scott proposed, "There’s been something happening with many employers. It’s a slow but steady shift but it seems to be gaining momentum. Companies are moving from having a charitable mentality, “We need to hire people with autism out of the goodness of our hearts,” to “We need to hire autistic employees because it’s a good business decision.” Yes, autistic employees are positively impacting the bottom line, and more companies are adopting this new mindset."  Steve Bier credits Scott's thinking with moving the employment of all types of thinkers forward. 

Currently, Popcorn for the People is being promoted and served at the St. Ann's Italian Festival in Hoboken.  Upcoming events include the Monmouth and Middlesex County Fairs. There with be a Popcorn for the People "pop-up" sale at the Woodbridge and Bridgewater malls on the weekends, too.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Free Maker's Day at YingHua International School

February 19, 2018

It has been a big hit for the past years that is why we are doing it again.  Let's Make Things!  

YingHua International School at 25 Laurel Avenue, Kingston, NJ sponsors a FREE Maker's Day on March 3 from 9:30 - 3:30 pm.  Everyone is invited to join as for a fun learning experience for all ages.  Learn how things work!  From Science, Technology, ...

Following Florida Massacre, EB Schools Add Armed Officers to Security

February 17, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At a meeting Thursday night, the East Brunswick board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police department to place armed police officers at each school building in the district throughout the entire school day.  

In a report released by superintendent Victor Valeski yesterday, township officials asserted that the move ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Township Teen in Wooded Area

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Following Florida Massacre, EB Schools Add Armed Officers to Security

February 17, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At a meeting Thursday night, the East Brunswick board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police department to place armed police officers at each school building in the district throughout the entire school day.  

In a report released by superintendent Victor Valeski yesterday, township officials asserted that the move ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Township Teen in Wooded Area

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Big Little Railroad Shop in Somerville Runs Out of Steam; Store Closing

February 18, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Big Little Railroad Shop, an iconic retail store for 27 years and a fixture on Main Street most of those years has run out of steam.

The hobby shop for serious model railroaders, which first opened in 1991, is selling out its inventory at reduced prices and will close its doors at 63 W. Main St. for the final time on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Owner Jen Lush and her husband ...

Somerville: Cobalt Apartments to Receive Land Development and Planning Award

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the county Planning Board will honor six local projects, including the Cobalt Apartments on Veterans Memorial Drive at the 35th annual Land Development and Planning Awards at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Freeholder Meeting Room, located on the third floor of the county Administration Building at 20 Grove St.

Free ...

By Trying to Help, You are Committing a Crime

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor remind residents that should you come across images or videos depicting a child being physically or sexually abused do not share those images or videos online.

Images and/or videos depicting the sexual abuse of minors are considered ...

Big Little Railroad Shop in Somerville Runs Out of Steam; Store Closing

February 18, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Big Little Railroad Shop, an iconic retail store for 27 years and a fixture on Main Street most of those years has run out of steam.

The hobby shop for serious model railroaders, which first opened in 1991, is selling out its inventory at reduced prices and will close its doors at 63 W. Main St. for the final time on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Owner Jen Lush and her husband ...

Somerville: Cobalt Apartments to Receive Land Development and Planning Award

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the county Planning Board will honor six local projects, including the Cobalt Apartments on Veterans Memorial Drive at the 35th annual Land Development and Planning Awards at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Freeholder Meeting Room, located on the third floor of the county Administration Building at 20 Grove St.

Free ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!