Maybe you have seen the posts on LinkedIn or Facebook. Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, community leaders, members of the South Jersey business community and beyond – sharing their enthusiasm and support for an online challenge created by one Burlington County company who intended to make a difference in the fight to end hunger in South Jersey.
When Workplace CEO Frank Plum went to Burlington County Chamber of Commerce and heard Food Bank of South Jersey CEO Fred Wasiak speak on the food insecurity in South Jersey, it really hit home for him.
“Fred spoke about Burlington County alone, where Workplace is located, has 41,480 residents who do not know where they are getting their next meal – of that number, 10,960 are children,” Plum shares. “Learning that approximately 140,000 residents living in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties do not know where they are getting their next meal – it was staggering.”
When Plum and Wasiak officially met at a scheduled photo shoot for South Jersey Biz Magazine Executive of the Year for South Jersey Biz Magazine a few weeks later, Plum, still mindful of the sobering food insecurity issues pervasive in South Jersey, asked Wasiak how Workplace could help the Food Bank of South Jersey in its mission to provide hunger relief. Mindful of the importance and strength of community awareness, Wasiak encouraged Plum to assist the Food Bank of South Jersey – celebrating its 35th year as South Jersey’s largest hunger relief organization – by creating a way for other business leaders in the region to be aware of and provide support to members
After giving ideas consideration, Plum figured the best way to help the Food Bank of South Jersey would be by leveraging his business connections to spread awareness. Next step? The team at Workplace came up with the idea to create a food donation challenge, calling out to fellow South Jersey and regional businesses, associations and leading organizations to donate non-perishable food items to the Workplace HCM office in Marlton, New Jersey.
“Similar to the ALS Challenge that took place in 2014, we decided to challenge three businesses to come and donate food to our office or make a donation online within 48 hours,” Plum reports. “To continue to spread awareness, we encouraged each of the people we nominated to nominate three additional business people in our region, and so on – creating awareness for the Food Bank of South Jersey, as well as the reality of food insecurity and community hunger in our region.”
As each regional business person answers the Workplace challenge, a video of them challenging their connections to take the challenge is posted to social media by Workplace – further escalating the engagement, impact and social awareness of Workplace’s energized endeavor.
“Our hope is that this campaign creates awareness for the mission of the Food Bank of South Jersey, and that we can raise as much money and food items as possible to support our food-insecure communities,” states Plum. “In the short time we have been doing this, we have received so much positive feedback and donations – more than we ever anticipated. Every one of our connections have been extremely eager to support our cause and spread awareness. All of our nominees have gone above and beyond by bringing in generous food donations and inviting their connections to donate as well – we have also been supporting a fundraising drive to provide additional support to the Food Bank.”