Community Maplewood South Orange

Chris Dickson of Rent Party Honored at Jefferson Awards

From Rent Party:

Rent Party co-founder Chris Dickson was an Honoree at The New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards on Saturday, June 2 in Trenton, NJ. Dickson was lauded in the Founders/Innovators category, which “recognizes individuals whose vision and dedication result in the establishment of a new organization to meet unmet needs or new improved means of meeting those needs.” Dickson was nominated by Maplewood resident Tom Nevius.

Started in 2009, by Dickson and co-founder David Wagner, Rent Party is a live music series at The Woodland in Maplewood. The proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in Maplewood and South Orange. Rent Party financially supports the St. Joseph’s, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Oheb Shalom food pantries. They built and maintain a large community garden on the front lawn of the South Orange Elks that raises fresh produce for the pantries they support. Their BackPack Pals program provides a weekend’s worth of nutritious food to about 100 food-insecure kids each week in South Orange – Maplewood schools.

While “humbled” by the recognition, Dickson is quick to point out that “Rent Party is a truly team effort. Every single thing Rent Party has done in the last nine years is because of our volunteers. From the crew that makes the shows happen, to the BackPack Pals and Garden volunteers, nothing happens without our volunteers,” said Dickson.

Dickson was also humbled by the ceremonies in Trenton. “It was an amazing group of volunteers from around the State, folks doing some incredible stuff for their neighbors,” said Dickson, adding that he was impressed by the diversity of the honorees. “There are folks of all shapes, sizes, religions and colors making a real impact in their communities. It was a privilege to be part of that,” said Dickson.

The New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards is a joint program administered by The Community Foundation of New Jersey, The Star-Ledger Powering, and The Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, with support from corporate underwriters.  It is a local program of The Jefferson Awards.

The Jefferson Awards is a national volunteer recognition program established in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service in cooperation with the U.S. Senate and the White House. Designed to honor volunteers in all areas of the United States

To learn more about Rent Party, visit their website at

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