Mercer Street Friends Leadership Awards 2024 Celebration

Thank you to all who joined us for our Fourth Annual Leadership Awards Celebration as we proudly honored New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin with the 2024 Humanitarian Award. Thank you especially to Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America, who introduced Speaker Coughlin and presented him with the award.

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The Honorable Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin has served in the General Assembly since 2010, representing the 19th Legislative District. He is the longest serving Speaker in New Jersey history, now in his fourth term. Speaker Coughlin created the nation’s first state cabinet-level position to promote food security, Director of the Office of Food Security Advocate, currently held by Mark Dinglasan. When COVID emergency benefits ended, Coughlin led the effort to increase the minimum SNAP benefit in New Jersey from $50 to $95. In January 2024, Coughlin also helped expand the number of students eligible for free breakfast and lunch in New Jersey schools. 

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot is a leader and advocate dedicated to combating hunger and strengthening communities. Since 2018, Claire has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America, a network of food banks, statewide food bank associations, food pantries and meal programs, and the largest charity in the United States since 2022, according to Forbes.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors:

Read the full press release here.

Enjoy some photo highlights of the evening:

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