By BONNIE GRAHAM
The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties formally unveiled its new name and logo, Fulfill, to the media, elected officials, partner food banks, volunteers, and the public at a ceremony held at its headquarters at 3300 Route 66, Neptune, on Tues., May 23.
Fulfill of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is a member of The New Jersey Federation of Foodbanks, a coalition of the state’s six foodbanks. Each foodbank is a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, with independent boards, fundraising, accounting, and service areas.
The purpose of the name/brand change to Fulfill – which was 18 months in the planning – was to emphasize this organizations’ far-ranging purposes and goals to end hunger throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties. As Executive Director Carlos Rodriquez stated in the press release: “The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is now doing business as Fulfill to communicate the many ways they are working to end hunger in the community. We provide many services to win against hunger. We changed our name because we are evolving, and invite our neighbors and partners to mobilize and engage in the many hunger-fighting services that help shorten the food line and add to the bottom line of families in need. Because ending hunger in our community is a complex challenge, it takes a comprehensive approach to provide the resources people need to maintain active, healthy lifestyles”.
At 10 a.m. Rodriquez greeted the crowd of board members, staff employees, volunteers, Monmouth County Freeholders Thomas A. Arnone, John P. Curley, and Serena DiMaso, representatives from the above-mentioned New Jersey Federation of Foodbanks, the media, and the public.
“Something big is happening today,” he said. “We are emphasizing a more comprehensive approach to hunger. We needed a new, fresh look representative of what we do.”
Rodriquez, board and staff employees, Arnone, Curley, and DiMaso unveiled the Fulfill logo, which is placed above the main entrance, and then led everyone in chanting “Hunger Won’t Win Here!” Twenty members of the Neptune Township High School Band headed a parade of Tuesday sort room volunteers, who carried the new Fulfill banner, and three vehicles – a van, a mobile food pantry truck, and a large food distribution truck – with the Fulfill logo.
The Fulfill staff employees wore their new logo gray polo shirts; the volunteers wore their new logo burnt orange T-shirts.
Inside Fulfill’s distribution center, Rodriquez said, “Why the new name? The Foodbank name covers only one aspect of how this facility changes lives.”
They serve one in ten residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties – distributing 12 million meals through over 300 pantries and soup kitchens to 120,00 adults and children, he said.
Freeholder Curley said, “It is a privilege to be here. I represent 630,000 residents of fifty-three Monmouth County municipalities.”
As head of the County’s human services/social services departments, he said they have received over 18,000 S.N.A.P. (food stamp) applications, and their office receives calls daily for assistance.
Curley expressed his appreciation to Rodriquez, the Fulfill’s Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers.
Curley said, “10,000 pounds of donations were brought in by the Monmouth County employees through their food drive.”
The Aging Disability/Veterans Affairs Department is working to bring S.C.A.T. drivers to transport clients, at no charge, to locations where they can receive the distributions, he said.
Following the presentations, everyone was invited to partake of gourmet-quality finger foods and beverages, courtesy of the Fulfill’s Culinary Training students.
Other Fulfill Facts:
· Kids’ feeding programs — 142,000 meals for kids through backpack, after-school, and summer food programs.
· Providing food – 12 million meals provided through over 300 pantries and soup kitchens.
· Mobile pantries – 11,310 people served, including seniors and veterans.
· Culinary training – 290 graduates to date and counting.
· Tax refund assistance – $2.2 million in refunds via VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program).
·Enrollment assistance – $4.5 million in benefits (“SNAP” – food stamps).
· Affordable healthcare – $4 million in subsidies. Fulfill’s trained and certified Health Care Navigators help uninsured individuals and families apply for insurance that meets their needs.