EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Jeff Hyman cares enough about children in need having food to eat this summer that he rallied his employees and customers to help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Hyman stopped by the organization’s Southern Branch on Thursday with 415 pounds of perishable food items packed into 57 bags and stuffed into his Ford Escape SUV.

Community FoodBank warehouse assistant Kris Heim helped unload the bags from Hyman’s car.

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“I think it’s important. We take from the community. It’s important when we can to give back to the community ... to help those not as fortunate,” Hyman said. “I know what it is like for people to struggle.”

Hyman is the owner of a Cleaning Authority franchise. His Hammonton-based business cleans both homes and offices in Atlantic and Cape May counties and as far west as Mullica Hill, Gloucester County.

The franchise is participating in the Clean Authority CARES program this summer.

Hyman received the bags for the food donations from the main Cleaning Authority headquarters based in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metro area.

The 25 people on his staff ask the businesses and homeowners they service whether they can leave a bag for food donations.

“Everybody on my staff is supportive to do it,” Hyman said.

Since Hyman’s business covers a wide area, he makes his donations to the Southern Branch of the Community FoodBank, so the food will be spread over a large region.

Hyman also collected donations for the FoodBank last summer and this past winter. After stopping by Thursday, he plans to return with more food donations next month and in August.

Hyman made the commitment to help others even though he could use some assistance himself. Hyman is working 60 hours per week, but is suffering end-stage renal disease and is looking for a live kidney donor.

Richard J. Uniacke, vice president of the FoodBank’s Southern Branch, said his organization has been excited every time Hyman drives up with a donation from the Cleaning Authority.

“It is just a shining example of businesses in our area who have taken up the cause of hunger, particularly at this time of year with the recognition that summertime is a particularly challenging time for food insecure households where they need the help,” Uniacke said.

What often happens is businesses take the initiative.

The FoodBank doesn’t necessarily coordinate it with them, Uniacke said.

“They give us a call and say, ‘Hey, we did a food drive. It’s outstanding. It’s 500 pounds, and we would like to come and drop it off and meet somebody over there,’” Uniacke said.

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Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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