America’s Grow-a-Row founder Chip Paillex is named a ‘CNN Hero’
By September 08, 2014 at 5:24 PMon September 08, 2014 at 4:27 PM, updated
Chip Paillex, founder of America’s Grow-a-Row, which is based on Route 513 near Pittstown, has been named a CNN Hero.
CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.
America’s Grow-a-Row started back in 2002, when Paillex saw a plea in the Hunterdon County Democrat from the Flemington Area Food Pantry for gardeners to give it excess produce.
First Paillex started with just his own garden. Later he expanded the program into a mission project of the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church near Pittstown, and the effort has grown ever since.
The first year, 120 pounds of produce was donated. In 2013, the two-millionth pound of produce was donated. Now the meter on the group’s website is ticking close to the three-million pound mark.
Although it was Paillex that was nominated for the award, he said, “There are a lot of heroes involved.” Those heroes include the many volunteers who come from near and far to harvest the food, as well as the Hunterdon County Democrat, which has printed many stories and photos over the years. Paillex said, donors “often tell me they read about us in the Democrat.”
The food comes from three sources: growing (Grow-A-Row now owns acreage in Union and Alexandria townships and in 2013 signed a lease-to-purchase agreement to buy the land on Route 513 where it headquartered); gleaning from other Jersey growers’ fields and orchards; and gleaning from Colalillo family ShopRite grocery store produce displays in Franklin and Raritan townships.
As part of a summer youth program, children from New Jersey’s inner-city areas came to the farm, a first-time experience for many of them. “They immediately are struck by the fact that food grows out of the ground,” Paillex told CNN. “For them to be able to actually pull it out of the ground and harvest it and then bring it home to their families, that’s huge.”
Read the CNN story here.
The nonprofit’s aim is to help the needy in New Jersey not only to fill their bellies, but to help them meet nutritional guidelines for fruits and vegetables, one way to battle obesity and its attendant health problems.
Always thinking of others, Paillex said he hopes the publicity garnered by CNN will help the program continue to expand and reach even more people.
See America’s Grow-a-Row website at www.americasgrowarow.org to see how to help.