The Campbell Soup Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB), recognized two Camden community leaders at a breakfast held at the company’s world headquarters. The Campbell Soup Foundation Community Awards pay tribute to individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of Camden residents. More than 115 local non-profit leaders attended the event.
The Hometown Hero award was created in 2003 to recognize and encourage those who have dedicated themselves to making Camden a better place to live and work. The recipient receives a $1,000 cash gift and a framed certificate. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who has worked over time to improve the lives of Camden residents. The recipient receives a $5,000 grant for their organization in their name and a framed certificate.
This year’s award recipients are:
- Jessica Franzini, UARP Program Director at the New Jersey Tree Foundation, received the Hometown Hero Award. For the past three years, Franzini has been hailed as a “one woman show” in Camden. She single handedly runs the Urban Airshed Reforestation Program and develops and directs all community-based tree plantings in the city and facilitates the Camden Tree Keepers Program and Camden Pruning Club and overseeing hundreds of volunteers annually. She has worked tirelessly to improve the environment and quality of life in Camden through reforestation programs and restoration of public green spaces.
- Karen Talarico, Executive Director of Cathedral Kitchen, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. For more than a decade, Talarico has managed the operations of the city’s largest feeding program that, during its early days, once prepared 200 to 500 meals each evening in a 9 x 12 ft. kitchen containing one stove and one convection oven. Originally hired to oversee what was initially envisioned as a $1 million dollar rehabilitation project for the facility, Talarico oversaw what would become a $4 million, five-year design and build project. Her efforts culminated in the new facility’s opening in November 2008. In addition to serving more than 200,000 meals a year, the site now also hosts a culinary arts job training program and a health clinic that includes dental care for the disadvantaged of Camden.
“Each year we look forward to recognizing individuals in our community who have made significant contributions to improve the quality of life in Camden,” said Dave Stangis, President of the Campbell Soup Foundation. “Everyone involved with the Campbell Soup Foundation Community Awards is dedicated to making Camden a better place to live and to work.”