Middlesex County News

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

Piscataway

Edison Public Library Donation Drive for Edison Animal Shelter

June 6, 2018

The Edison Township Free Public Library is partnering with the Edison Animal Shelter to do a donation drive for the Edison Animal Shelter. There is a checklist of all items that are being accepted at the animal shelter. These checklists can be found above and the donation bins will be available at all three branches. We will be collecting items until the end of June. For more ...

Two Busted in $2.3 Million Perfume Heist from Edison Warehouse, say Feds

June 18, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. – Two men have been charged for their alleged roles in transporting $2.3 million worth of perfume products stolen from an Edison warehouse, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Yunior Estevez, 33, of Hollywood, Florida, and Carlos Duvergel, 53, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, were both charged by complaint with conspiracy and with the interstate transport of stolen ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

MCRO Chairwoman Panos Celebrates Re-Election, Promises Party Unity to Defeat Menendez

June 15, 2018

FORDS, NJ-  Middlesex County Republican Organization (MCRO) Chairwoman Lucille Panos of Old Bridge was re-elected to a second two-year term as that organization's chairwoman.  Also re-elected were Edison chairwoman Sylvia Engel as vice-chair, and South Brunswick chairwoman Antonia Kulberda as secretary.  Rounding out the victors was Harold Kane of Monroe, ...

Promise Culinary School Slates Open Houses June 21 and 22 in New Brunswick with Tours, Tastings, Prizes

Promise Culinary School will host open houses for the community and prospective students on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at 211 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. The events are free and open to the public.

The events will include kitchen tours, demonstrations, tastings, raffles and prizes. Tours and activities will be ...

Rutgers-Camden students who saved man from fire honored by City of Camden

Camden, NJ—The Rutgers-Camden students who saved an elderly man from a March fire at his Cooper Street home were honored by the City of Camden Tuesday night.

Mayor Frank Moran awarded proclamations to Corey Zytko, Jonathan Perez-Gaytan, Matteo Resanovic, Vanessa Solis Palma, Sehwan Park and Tammy Meneses on Tuesday, June 12.

On the night of March 23, the students were hanging out in ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8f0a915f696bb2ae1366_community_shred

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Quibbletown Park, Piscataway

Piscataway Township Paper Shredding Event

Government Green

Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Empowerment for the Job Search: Applications & ...

Business & Finance

Thu, July 5, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, Piscataway

Trivia Night at the Library!

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 11, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Three to Feature Fauré ...

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

A Date with Destiny

Leslie. . . it would be the bomb . . .  if we could go to prom . . . together.

 

For the record, Leslie is my wife, and this is my openly public attempt at a promposal.  

 

My twin high school seniors taught me about promposals, those cute, showy, and sometimes over-the-top ways of asking someone special to prom.  This year they have been on both the ...