CAMPBELL'S EVERYDAY ALL-STAR TEAM: DEBRA VIZZI
BY MATT COHEN
This season, the New York Giants have partnered up with Campbell's Chunky Soup to highlight "Everyday All-Stars" - individuals who go above and beyond to make a difference in the community.
The joint initiative is part of a larger Campbell's campaign to pay tribute to the everyday hard work of men and women in their communities. Campbell's enlisted six NFL players to join the effort - Odell Beckham Jr., Drew Brees, Kyle Long, Todd Gurley, Eric Ebron and Eddie Lacy.
The first New York Giant Everyday All-Star is Debra Vizzi, the President and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
About Community Food Bank of New Jersey
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is the largest anti-poverty organization in the state, with a mission to feed the hungry. There are 1.1 million hungry people in the state, of which 340,000 are children. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey focuses on gathering food all year long, not just during the holidays. The summer is an especially critical time because many kids are out of school and can't always get breakfast and lunch.
Debra joined CFBNJ in September of 2015, and has worked hard to further the mission and goals of the organization.
"People like to think hunger doesn't exist in their community, but it's in every single county in the state. We deliver food to all the state charities - a church down the street, a soup kitchen or a school pantry. All of that comes from CFBNJ. Last year we put out 44 million pounds of food throughout the state. We're the size of five football fields and we're one of very few charities in the country that has the highest rating with Charity Navigator."
What made you get involved in community service?
"I spent my life in foster care and in shelters. I was one of the kids that was on a shelter line and a pantry line for many years in my life. Even when I was in college, I was going to a soup kitchen at night because I didn't have enough money to put on a food card. An effort to lead the hungry is not only a professional mission but a personal vindication. I really get what it feels like to be hungry."
If you were GM of a Campbell's Everyday-All Star team, what qualities would you look for?
"Campbell's has put the brand on chicken soup, and when you go to the doctor because you're not feeling well, they always say have some chicken soup. It's sort of like a metaphor we use here. Just like chicken soup is a prescription for wellness that doctors use, food is a prescription for people's lives - to concentrate in school and provide fellowship for a community."
Describe your community and other ways you like to give back.
"I'm very involved with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) which is an advocacy group that helps foster kids during the court process. I won a Monmouth County Humanitarian Award several years ago. I'm also involved with Student Sponsor Partners, a charity that helped me go to school. I was paired at an event last year with Tom Coughlin. He focuses on building a team and the team I have in my life is what got me from one place to the next. Although our lenses were very different, we had a very common story."
What's your favorite thing to cook or your best dish?
"Paella because you can serve everybody at one time and it's a big family dish! I have an 18-year-old son in Valley Forge Military Academy and College. He's pursuing a life to be of service to his country. We all pick our paths and I feel very honored that my son is choosing a life of public service in a different area."
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