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First NJ Heroes of 2011

First Lady Mary Pat Christie today named Jean and Clark Paradise, founders of Your Grandmother’s Cupboard, the first New Jersey Heroes of 2011.
For octogenarians Jean and Clark Paradise of Toms River, what could have been a quiet retirement has developed into a labor of love that is helping approximately 1200 of New Jersey's seniors, homeless and working poor every month. Today, First Lady Mary Pat Christie honored that commitment as she toured the non-profit organization they started, Your Grandmother's Cupboard, and named the couple the first New Jersey Heroes of 2011 for their work aiding those in need.

"Jean and Clark are true New Jersey heroes," said Mrs. Christie. "Wanting to help those less fortunate in their community, they answered a call to action, demonstrating that no matter what your age, you can still make a difference in the lives of others. They set an example we can all follow and I am proud to name them New Jersey Heroes."

Your Grandmother's Cupboard began five years ago after the couple had worked with a local pastor to serve the homeless in a nearby tent city community. While food pantries and shelters do what they can, the Paradises discovered a need to provide non-basic necessities for good health and hygiene for those who could not afford it. Through the kind donations of fellow New Jerseyans ranging from monetary contributions and supplies to trailers to store the goods, Your Grandmother's Cupboard got its start. Funding for the organization is still derived from donations by individuals and other groups.

Today, Your Grandmother's Cupboard operates from locations in Toms River and Phillipsburg, bringing clothing, shoes, blankets, household and personal items to those who need it most. The "Cupboard" serves communities in Garfield, Passaic, Paterson, Hoboken, Dover, Phillipsburg, Easton, Edison, New Brunswick, Trenton, Jackson, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Toms River, Seaside Heights, Bayville, Forked River, Swainton and all surrounding areas.

A NJ 211 responder organization, "Cupboard" volunteers and vehicles also are able to respond to emergency calls within 2 hours or less to bring necessities to the person or agency making the call.

To learn more about the work of Your Grandmother's Cupboard or to donate goods, contact www.yourgrandmotherscupboard.org.

New Jersey Heroes is an initiative of First Lady Mary Pat Christie to showcase the positive ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey in their own unique ways. Every month, a new local hero will be designated from nominations submitted by residents through the First Lady's website. To nominate a hero, go to the bottom of the page at www.nj.gov/governor/firstlady and click the NJ Heroes tab. Follow the application instructions and submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.

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