SUMMIT, NJ - AmpleHarvest.org Executive Director Gary Oppenheimer, honored as a "CNN Hero" in 2010, will deliver a talk centered on how his organization uses technology to connect backyard gardeners with excess produce to nearby food pantries eager to receive it, as part of a Social Justice Shabbat service May 8 at Congregation Beth Hatikvah (CBH).
 
Food scarcity and hunger are the themes for CBH’s May Social Justice Shabbat, a monthly program that educates the community on key social issues facing society and presents actions that can be taken to resolve them. Oppenheimer's presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.
 
Invited to the White House five times, and featured in First Lady Michelle Obama's book American Grown, Oppenheimer also delivered a TED Talk in 2012 entitled, "Changing the Way We Eat." He has several partnerships in the works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and national faith organizations.
 

“Eliminating the tragic waste of excess locally grown fresh food by enabling America’s 42 million home/community gardeners to share their bounty with a local food pantry is a perfect example of both Tikkun Olam and Tzadakah in action,” said Oppenheimer. “Thanks to AmpleHarvest.org, the phrase ‘jars, cans boxes – no fresh food’ that has historically accompanied most food drives is now a thing of the past.”

“The CBH community is thrilled to have an innovative social entrepreneur like Gary Oppenheimer share his unique vision for reducing hunger,” said Liza Kirschenbaum and Marc Kaufman, Co-Chairs of CBH Social Action Committee. “We are confident that Gary’s positive messages and insights will inspire members of our community to engage in this important issue.”
 
AmpleHarvest.org is a free, nationwide campaign to diminish the waste of food, hunger and malnutrition -- while helping the environment in America -- by making it easy for millions of backyard gardeners across the country to quickly find local food pantries eager to receive their excess garden bounty.

“On the second Shabbat of each month, a different social justice issue is incorporated into CBH’s Shabbat activities at services, adult learning, and religious school,” said Rabbi Hannah Orden. “May is the perfect time to introduce AmpleHarvest.org’s creative approach to feeding the hungry, which is an important part of Jewish tradition. As people begin to plant their gardens, we hope they will consider donating surplus produce to a nearby food pantry – easily located at AmpleHarvest.org”

For more information, go to bethhatikvah.org or call 908 / 277-0200. Congregation Beth Hatikvah is located at 36 Chatham Road.