An Arizona State University graduate’s nonprofit business aimed at feeding the hungry has received its largest real estate sponsor.
Prudential Americana Group Realtors donated $5,000 to Neptune, N.J.-based Move for Hunger, founded by ASU graduate Adam Lowy, and plans to use its network of 2,000 sales executives in Nevada and Arizona to help the nonprofit bring in more food. The organization partners with moving and real estate companies to get food donated that otherwise would have been thrown away.
“(Prudential Americana Group CEO) Mark Stark just connected and realized that there is a need and realized there was something that his real estate agents could do,” said Lowy, who serves as the nonprofit’s executive director. “He was just beyond enthusiastic.”
Lowy started the nonprofit when he noticed how much food was thrown away while people were relocating. His great-grandfather started a moving company that is now owned by his father and has been in the family for 90 years, he said, which is how this waste first came to his attention.
“When people move, they just throw away a ton of stuff,” Lowy said. “A lot of this food that was being thrown out was… perfectly good food that could have been given to a family.”
At age 23, Lowy decided to do something about it. Within one month, he was able to collect 300 pounds of food from movers. This got him thinking about how much he could collect as an ongoing effort, he said.
To date, Move for Hunger has delivered more than 700,000 pounds of food, which Lowy calculates as about 540,000 meals using 1.3 pounds as the standard metric for a meal. The organization has spread to 43 states, and Prudential Americana Group is now giving the nonprofit a big boost in the Southwest.
“We’re a very large organization, and I know one of Adam’s goal is to get more involved in the real estate community,” Stark said. “We’re excited about it.”
Stark said his Las Vegas-based real estate company reaches 13,000 to 14,000 units annually in Nevada and Arizona. He said he hopes it becomes a habit for sales representatives to ask about food they see getting thrown away so they can let homeowners know there is another option.
“They got these movers who committed to just pick this food up,” Stark said. “It’s amazing”
The moving companies collect and drop off the food to local food banks. Move for Hunger’s job is to organize it all. They do not stop at just targeting movers, though. People have contacted Lowy to find out about starting food drives in their communities. The nonprofit helped with 70 food drives last year, Lowy said.
“More and more people who want to help were able to take their idea and really do the heavy lifting,” Lowy said. “Call us and we will help.”
Lowy also has helped the ASU Undie Run incorporate a food component in addition to the clothing drive the event is traditionally known for. By participating in two annual Undie Runs, Move for Hunger was able to deliver 6,000 pounds of food to St. Mary’s Food Bank.
Since 2009, Move for Hunger has been able to collect over 12,000 pounds of food in Arizona.
Phoenix Business Journal by Matt Haldane, Editorial Intern