Fourteen years ago, Claudia Wheeler discovered how she could make New Jersey a better place… and the entire world is better for it.
Every day, countless pounds of food go to waste from places like grocery stores and restaurants. As terrible as that sounds, it’s made worse by the fact that one out of every four households suffers from food insecurity.
Claudia took note of this and wanted to make a change. She started off by rescuing food that would have otherwise been thrown away by her local Trader Joe’s.
Since then, the full-time teacher and mother created the SALT Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the people of Jersey City. Why that name? Because like salt, they make “food last longer helping families in need by saving and disseminating food that would otherwise be thrown away.”
For the past eight years, they’ve been doing so with great success. In the time since Claudia began rescuing food all by herself, she has delivered over 200,000 pounds of fruit, vegetables, grains, and other non-food items to people who need them. The group has grown so quickly that they even opened their first physical location in March 2021.
As incredible as their success has been, Claudia’s work isn’t easy. Despite having a full-time job as a teacher and as a mom, she never takes a break from her nonprofit work.
Every single day, she can be found sorting through food and traveling near and far for food rescue pickups, sometimes multiple times a day. All the while, she was getting around in a Jeep that was on its last leg.
Claudia’s parents taught her that if you help your community, you’ll always be able to eat, and her neighbors are proving them right.
After seeing all the time and hard work Claudia has put into feeding her community, her grateful supporters gathered to find a way to help her get a cargo van. They started a GoFundMe, and since then, they have raised over $28,000. That’s above and beyond their initial goal of $10,000!
“I’m happy about those who are partnering with me and also really trying to help whether it’s to get the van or to help volunteer, and I really appreciate it very much,” Claudia said. “I truly, from my heart, enjoy doing this and giving back to the community.”
Watch a clip of Claudia talking about SALT Foundation below, and don’t forget to share this story to inspire similar initiatives in your own community.
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