HILLSIDE, NJ - Revamped, Reimagined, and Reinvigorated, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey's Gala fundraiser -- now dubbed the 'Blue Jean Ball' was held at the Central Railroad Terminal in Liberty State Park. The event, which attracted more than 450 guests, yielded donations of more than $1.1 million to benefit the FoodBank’s hunger relief efforts.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, provides people across the state with food, help and hope. The FoodBank distributed more than 50 million pounds of food last year to its more than 1,000 community partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and senior feeding programs. More than 4.7 million times a year, someone in need is fed by the FoodBank’s network of partners.
Chaired by Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s Board of Directors members Alma DeMetropolis, Robert H. Doherty, and Roby & Josh Weinreich, the event began with a cocktail hour featuring food trucks on the banks of the Hudson River overlooking the New York City skyline.
The festivities then moved inside for dinner and an awards presentation honoring FoodBank supporters who have exemplified the three core values of food, help, and hope. The formal program was emceed by Summit native Adam Sank.
The FOOD Award was presented to Goya Foods, Inc., a significant provider of food for New Jerseyans in need through donations to Feeding America, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and a host of local pantries, soup kitchens, and after-school programs. This year alone, Goya has donated 100,000 pounds of food to date through the Goya Gives ‘Can Do’ campaign, teaming up with the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center employees to sort and bag some of the food for distribution.
Philanthropist David Tepper, Founder & President of Appaloosa LP, received the HELP Award for his generous financial support of the FoodBank and consistent advocacy for those in need. His foresight bolstered the FoodBank’s resilience during the recession, Superstorm Sandy, and the collapse of the Atlantic City economy.
“Hunger is everybody's concern and everybody's responsibility," said Tepper.. “An investment in supporting our New Jersey neighbors pays back dividends in a million different ways, feeding families next door and fueling the futures of our kids."
Hall of Fame rocker Jon Bon Jovi lent some star power to the event, attending the All New Blue Jean Ball to show his support for the fight against hunger by presenting David Tepper with the HELP Award.
"It's a privilege to honor my friend, David Tepper, with the HELP Award at the All New Blue Jean Ball," said Bon Jovi. "David understands the need to help his community and pursues his philanthropic investments with the same rigors he does any business endeavor. He knows that together, we can solve the problem of hunger in New Jersey.”
The HOPE Award went to year’s most dedicated corporate partners, schools, organizations, and individuals who have demonstrated leadership as FoodBank volunteers: Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Prudential Financial, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Wakefern Food Corporation, Lafayette Elementary School, Kean University, Seton Hall Preparatory School, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Bob Griffin, Carol Haws, Betsey Bernhardt, and Nancy & John Shaw.
"The FoodBank is fortunate to have dedicated partners who share our goal of eliminating hunger and poverty in New Jersey communities,” said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, “With food from Goya, help from philanthropist David Tepper, Founder & President of Appaloosa LP, and hope from our devoted volunteers, we are able to work towards our mission of feeding and empowering our hungry neighbors."
After the awards presentation, guests enjoyed comedic entertainment by Colin Jost, Co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. The evening concluded back outside with a moveable feast of desserts crafted by the food trucks.