OCEAN CITY — Heritage Surf & Sport is facilitating a way to fight food insecurity in its community. To launch a new Combat Hunger initiative. '
On Nov. 17, Heritage donated $15,000 of this year’s holiday season proceeds to local food banks ahead of the holiday shopping season. Specifically, it donated $10,000 to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and $5,000 to the United Methodist Church in Sea Isle City, which will distribute food in Cape May and Atlantic counties.
Jim Hennessy, co-owner of Heritage, said, "After deciding on the Combat Hunger initiative, I reached out to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and was caught completely off guard as to the magnitude of food insecurity in our immediate area. Cape May County tops the state in food insecurity among children, and Atlantic County tops the state among families — two sobering facts. Our donation will go directly to those in the communities in which we operate our businesses.”
Denise Hladun, director of external affairs for The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, said, “We deeply appreciate the support of our friends from Heritage Surf & Sport during this critical time. Our mission is to fight hunger and poverty in New Jersey and two of the counties we serve, Atlantic and Cape May, are projected to lead the state in food insecurity. The generosity of the owners and customers of Heritage will provide relief to their neighbors in need.”
With the help of celebrity vlogger, World Record holder (for surfing in all 50 states) and Heritage team rider Ben Graeff (better known to his fans as Ben Gravy), Heritage is asking the community to join in this effort by bringing in nonperishable goods to the stores throughout the holiday season. Food donation boxes have already been set up at each year-round location in Margate, Ocean City and Sea Isle City.
“There are a lot of people in our local communities who really need help,” said Randy Young, Margate store owner. “I feel very fortunate to have a business that is strong enough to contribute to our local food bank. Our local community has made our business what it is, and I am very glad to give back to the community in this meaningful way.”
Shore communities have seen a surge in year-round residents since the pandemic. Many summer homeowners have decided to enroll students into the Ocean City public school system or have decided to stay in town as their children’s schools switched towards remote learning. Housing prices have surged and the local economy, despite the pandemic, has survived. With many activities available outside, going to the beach, surfing and walking the Boardwalk, life has felt fairly normal, albeit with mask wearing and staying farther apart than usual.
“We are fortunate to operate in strong communities that have seen such resilience throughout this pandemic,” said Heritage Marketing Director Allison Ocanto. “But it would be naive to think that we don’t have neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table. The Combat Hunger Initiative is our way of providing the needed support to help our entire community get through this holiday season.”
Heritage Surf and Sport was founded in 1962 by East Coast Hall of Fame recipient and renowned surfboard shaper Dan Heritage and his wife, Barbara. The shop’s birthplace was in Sea Isle City, where it still serves the surf community today. You can also find Heritage surf shops in Ocean City and Margate. It was named East Coast Retailer of the Year by the Surf Industry Manufacturer Associate.