Soup To Nutz

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This has been a busy month for the food industry, which is to be expected. However, this month in Philadelphia, which is usually busy, but not nutzo, Center City is buzzing. In case you live under a rock and haven’t head, the 82nd NFL draft is being held from April 27-29 on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (don’t get me started on that), so all streets leading to and surrounding it have been closed for the last 10 days. The first NFL draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the City of Brotherly Love in 1936. Philly also hosted the event in 1949-50, 1953-54 and 1956-61. So, it’s been a while since we’ve had this kind of football excitement here. No need to comment on the Eagles, thank you. More than 200,000 fans are expected to attend events throughout the weekend. At the exact same time, the 123rd Penn Relays are being held right across the Schuylkill River in Franklin Field and the surrounding University of Pennsylvania campus. The three-day attendance is likely to top 100,000. Let’s just add a few more things – the much anticipated Museum of the American Revolution opened just before presstime, so the crowds are streaming in to see it, and on spring weekends, the river plays host to numerous regattas. Plus, there is sure to be some sort of demonstration around City Hall because, yo…that’s what we do! Suburban life is awesome.

Looking to help reduce food insecurity in the communities they serve, customers and associates at Giant/Carlisle donated $631,473 during its annual in-store Bag Hunger campaign held in February and March in all stores to support regional and local food banks in four states. “We are committed to the fight against hunger in our local communities,” said Tom Lenkevich, president of Giant/Carlisle. “Year after year our customers and associates give generously to help us diminish hunger and help local food banks and pantries feed our neighbors in need.” According to partner food banks, $1 is the equivalent of six meals. As a result of the Bag Hunger campaign, recipient food banks and pantries will be able to provide approximately 3.8 million healthy and nutritious meals. To kick off the Bag Hunger Campaign, Giant/Carlisle donated $155,000 in gift cards to 31 food banks and pantries across 25 stores in February as part of the “Giant” One Day Give.

The folks at the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) have been busy hosting and preparing for upcoming events. In addition to its annual “Night of Distinction,” which you can read about in my colleague Kevin Gallagher’s Metro Beat column on page 8 of this issue, NJFC recently hosted an event recognizing the 2017 scholarship recipients from the Educational Development Scholarship Foundation. The recipients and their families were joined by members of the board of directors as well as sponsors of the individual scholarships at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, NJ. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2011, the three NJFC scholarships have grown from $2,000 to $5,000 each and now the foundation manages an additional 17 member supported scholarships. In all, 20 scholarships were awarded this year totaling $67,000. “We are proud of how significantly our scholarship program has expanded over the last few years,” said Linda Doherty, president of NJFC. “When we created this small scholarship program in 2011 to help grow the future of our industry and to benefit our members and their families, we had no idea that it would grow so quickly. The incredible support of our members and the opportunity to make such as significant impact on the lives of our associates and their families makes this one of the most rewarding programs we offer.” Doherty added, “NJFC received 124 applications for consideration. The selection C\committee was overwhelmingly impressed with the number and quality of applications. Our scholarship winners and all applicants are a shining example of the youth of today and their goals to succeed in today’s competitive business climate.” Congratulations!

At presstime, the NJFC had just announced that Chris Lane, executive vice president of Wakefern Food Corporation, will present the keynote address during the 2017 Trade Relations Conference. The event will be held on June 6 at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. During the event, Stan Barrasso of Acosta Sales & Marketing will be honored with the NJFC Max Stone Trade Relations Award, which is named in honor of the longtime trade relations leader for Best Foods, CPC in recognition of his accomplished career in trade relations in New Jersey. For more information, go to: