Former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno Named Head of Fulfill

*Story  by Dianne DeOliveira

Former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, a Monmouth County resident for nearly 30 years, will begin serving as the new President and CEO of Fulfill on Monday (May 6), formerly known as the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, the agency announced Friday.

As Fulfill’s CEO, I plan to bring a voice to the growing number of our neighbors who do not know where their next meal will come from,” said Guadagno in a news release. “Over the next few months, I hope to reach every corner of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to raise awareness of the problem of hunger in our own backyard and to raise awareness of the services Fulfill provides to try to solve the problem.  No child should ever go to bed not knowing where his or her next meal will come from.  No parent should ever struggle to put food on their table,” she said.

Jeremy Grunin, Chair of Fulfill’s Board of Trustees, said the agency found what it was looking for and more in Guadagno. “In searching for a new CEO, we wanted someone with an established history of charitable giving and involvement; extensive connections that could bring new resources to the organization; and who could help bring greater attention to Fulfill and its programs so we can serve as a model for other non-profits statewide.”

Prior to her role as First Lt. Governor from 2010-2018, Guadagno served as a town commissioner and Monmouth County Sheriff. The contacts made over the tenure of Guadagno’s accomplished career will allow her to diversify the support for Fulfill and provide their neighbors with the tools they need to win the battle against hunger, the agency said. Fulfill pointed out that Guadagno’s experiences and relationship with New Jersey’s business community give her clear insight on how to best enable Fulfill to achieve its goal of providing comprehensive services to the community including job training and financial literacy support.

Guadagno has witnessed first-hand the significant impact food insecurity has on communities, from food banks to pantries, soup kitchens to food deserts, and of the success of programs such as Farm to Table and Breakfast at the Bell, according to the news release.  Fulfill said it believes those experiences make Guadagno a great choice to fight hunger and raise awareness about food insecurity, one of the most pressing threats to the most vulnerable in our own community.

Fulfill explained just how serious an issue hunger is in the shore area. According to the agency,  in Monmouth and Ocean Counties alone, Feeding America reports one in ten residents do not know where their next meal will come from and, of that number, 21,000 children in Monmouth and 25,000 in Ocean go to bed hungry tonight. Fulfill said it provides 13.2 million meals every year to help these neighbors.

In addition, through its network of 300 food pantries and kitchens, Fulfill provides meals and helps the counties’ most vulnerable file tax returns, find health insurance, learn job skills and gain access to local, state and federal services to help families get on their feet for good.  Through its culinary arts training program, Fulfill has graduated 389 trainees.

Guadagno will continue to serve as a partner at Connell Foley, servicing her current clients. Connell Foley has not only represented FulFill for decades but has a long tradition of service to the community through pro bono, public service and non-profit work, according to the news release.