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A Letter from Chip – Thank you! No, thank YOU!

November 2021

Dear Friends,

When I was a child, I was brought up to always say thank you, and, going a step further, it was mandatory in my family to send out thank you notes too. As a kid it seemed to me like the good news/bad news that came with receiving a new toy, game, or anything else on that mile-long wish list I, like many kids, had. Whether it was for a birthday or Christmas gift, and regardless if it was an awesome Hot Wheels racetrack, cool telescope, or even the dreaded underwear and socks combo strategically wrapped up and presented from a loving grandparent, yup, like it or not I had to send out thank you notes.

So why am I strolling down memory lane reflecting on this valuable lesson to thank others that has been etched in my mind and on my heart? It’s because I, along with the entire team here at America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR), am incredibly grateful for all of the personal sacrifices made and for the generosity and continued support that our volunteers and donors have provided this year – and for that matter over the past 20 years – to help AGAR and, more importantly, to help those who are struggling and in great need during these hard times. And the very least we can do is say thank you. If you have ever been out to volunteer in the fields and received one of our thank you emails recapping the impact you made that day, hopefully you know how extremely grateful we are and that we truly recognize the critically important role our volunteers and supporters play in the AGAR mission.

But what never ceases to amaze me is the sheer number of responses I get back from people I just thanked, both volunteers and donors alike, who in turn thank us for creating AGAR and for providing them with an opportunity to give back. Imagine that: thanking someone who just worked tirelessly, very often in challenging weather, who then says thank you for the opportunity to serve or thank you for providing a reason and an avenue to make a donation or contribution to help others. Part of our mission has always been to provide ways to give back, and as a result countless people are also grateful. 

And who else is thankful? The people we serve who are faced with food insecurity and hunger across New Jersey, the mid-Atlantic region, and beyond. With the help of our volunteers and supporters, this year alone we will distribute over 2.3 million pounds of free fresh produce to those who need it the most. And I can tell you without question that the families and individuals who receive our produce are beyond appreciative of everyone who touches our program and positively impacts their lives.

As we approach Thanksgiving the list in my heart of what I’m most thankful for will once again include a special place for all of you in addition to my faith, family, and friends. May God continue to bless you, your families, and those we serve.

On behalf of the entire AGAR team, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you in the fields next year!

Oh, and one more thing…Thank You!!


President and Founder

4 thoughts on “A Letter from Chip – Thank you! No, thank YOU!

  1. Laura says:

    Oh Chip, THANK YOU (ALL)!!!!!!

  2. Nancy Ennis says:

    What a lovely letter. I too was “encouraged” to write thank you notes asap. And as I grew up, it just felt like the right thing to do. I taught my children the same kindness.

    So thank you all at AGAR, Grow A Row and to all who have served and donated to continue the good works.

    God bless you all and to all, have a joyous Thanksgiving.

  3. Lori VanDerveer-Hand says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at AGAR and thank you for the opportunity to serve such wonderful people. In all my years of volunteering with you I have met some really wonderful people. The joy I feel in my heart after a day in the heat handing out veggies and fruits in Jersey City compares to no other! So thank you Chip, Jacqui, Connie, Billy, Dennis and all the JC Crew. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. Karen Layland says:

    Chip, the growth that I’ve observed over the past 25 years (because we talked before AGAR was a reality) of your dream and passion to serve so many, is an incredible miracle! It’s the miracle of blessing so many who need food; it’s the miracle of involving so many wonderful volunteers in producing these incredible results; it’s the miracle of working hard and believing that with God’s help, there are no limits. Your efforts, along with those of a great team, make donors like me proud to be a part of AGAR and thankful for the mission that you so ably accomplish. Special blessings to you all!

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