Campbell's Everyday All-Star Team: Margarette Purvis

Posted Dec 13, 2016


This season, the New York Giants have partnered 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 who help give back to those in need. 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 third New York Giants Everyday All-Star is Margarette Purvis, the President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. The first two members of the team are: Debra Vizzi of Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Syd Mandelbaum of Rock and Wrap it Up!

About Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City is a major anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization that has been servicing the five boroughs for more than three decades. Food poverty is the number one cause of hunger in NYC, and 1.5 million New Yorkers rely on Food Bank For New York City's programs and services. Every day, over twenty tractor-trailer trucks deliver food to a network of 1,000 smaller charities, soup kitchens, soup pantries, low-income daycares and schools. Each year, FBNYC delivers more than 62.5 million pounds of food. Their nutrition education programs and services empower more than 45,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a limited budget.

In addition, Margarette points out that FBNYC doesn't just help the poor with food, but their finances as well.

"We sit at the intersection of people with means and people with needs. Our job is to help people find their place as a solution. Anyone can do that by donating foods, funds time and professional services that may be missing in some communities. We're a non-traditional food bank in that we help the working poor do their taxes for free. It allows families in need to have the thing they need the most, which is cash. Last year we brought in $140 million to the working poor."

What are the Food Bank For New York City holiday programs people should know about?

One project is the Million Meal Match. We have a donor who wants to encourage more New Yorkers to get involved, no matter the level, in ending hunger. He’s matching financial donations up to 500,000 meals to help us reach a total of 1 million meals for New Yorkers in need. It really comes as a shot in the arm.

The holidays are hard and there's a lot of demand. It's back breaking work. Having donors who think about how hard it can be at this time to find all the things our families need is really powerful. It's really not about me - it's about New Yorkers who take hunger and poverty and this organization very seriously, and they want to share it with the world and their friends to encourage people to get involved. Our overall goal is to raise millions of meals before December 31st.

Whoopi Goldberg named Food Bank For New York City as one of her "Favorite Things" this holiday season on the December 14th episode of The View.

If you were GM of a Campbell's Chunky Everyday-All Star team, what qualities would you look for?

Like any coach I’ve found myself attracted to the shiny acquisition. Who doesn't want that on their roster? However, the reality is, you have to learn over time there's a difference between the vision you have and what makes the ingredients for a great team. You have to have a team player; a person who is good to have in the locker room and a person that your other players who are holding everything together can work with. I want team players who bring that collaborative spirit and gets the Ultimate point - which is the team winning, not just themselves. That can be hard, because at the end of the day you want people who are ambitious. But I’ve learned over time that you want players focused on the mission winning, and if the mission wins, we as individuals get the win.

Describe your mentors and the people who have influenced you.

Service was something I learned from my home and from my grandmother. She was a Mississippi woman who was very proud to be a missionary Baptist, which means you are supposed to act your way through faith. It's not just what you say Sunday on the pew, but what you do during the week. Another key person is my mother. She's not just a mom, as a professional woman, she's a mentor as well. She is a voice and ear that I trust.

Another person is Dr. Lucy Cabrera, who was Food Bank For New York City’s CEO for 25 years. This is my second stint with Food Bank- I left and worked on Hurricane Katrina for years. When Dr. Cabrera retired, I was called and asked to look at the position, eventually resulting in my return to New York City. I would also say I had a previous boss, Sharon Perkins who was my boss before I ever came to Food Bank. She was amazing and taught me about programming. She pushed me a lot. She was one really tough woman. I got from all of them that if it matters to you, you won't take the shortcut. You will learn the craft, practice it and sometimes screw it up, own it and come at it again.

Can you describe a specific challenge you had to overcome? What was the solution?

Changing how food is distributed, meaning not just looking at the communities that are willing to take our food, but what distribution would look like if we focused on where food is needed most. What we've heard a lot, specifically from members not taking our produce, is a lack of storage space. We talked to some of our retail friends and came up with a new concept where we went to the communities that are the poorest and find out when they're distributing food. We bring the trucks. We take the produce out and they distribute right away in that moment. Anything extra we bring back to the Food Bank. We call this solution Green Sidewalks. In the first data points we've looked at, we've gotten 86% more produce to the poorest neighborhoods this year compared to last year.

Favorite dish to cook or your best dish?

A go-to of mine is a good grilled cheese with tomato soup. When I cook, I make a pretty mean lamb chop with a side of roasted potatoes and a bit of blue cheese and bacon, plus a side of green beans with garlic butter and some of my famous biscuits. I have kept my grandmother's recipe better than my 31 cousins and eight aunts and uncles.

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