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N.J. Man Wants To Develop App To Bring Healthy Items To Food Pantries

Chris Bickel, Of Livingston, Says Canned Food Just Doesn't Cut It Anymore
Smartphone (file / credit: clipart.com)

Smartphone (file / credit: clipart.com)

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A man who said he knows what it’s like to go hungry, is hoping to launch a new way to help others dealing with the same thing.

When Chris Bickel of Livingston, N.J., was 16 years old, he found himself on the beach with “no other place to go.”

Bickel’s mother died and his father had left. He told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman he spent eight months homeless as his family of 10 scattered.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman Reports

“The whole way through people just constantly helped us out,” Bickel, now 43, said.

Bickel said every meal had been a struggle.

“We were saved by the community. I mean, we had food stamps and then when I became homeless again, I got taken in by a teacher. I had always felt an enormous amount of gratitude for that,” Bickel said.

Now, he’s working on a way to help those who find themselves in similar circumstances. Bickel said he is working on an app that would link local food pantries with people looking to donate money to the less fortunate.

Bickel, who is now the supervisor of social studies for Livingston Public School, said canned food just doesn’t cut it anymore and that his app could help bring healthier options to pantries in Livingston and beyond.

“We spend so much money and effort getting cans to people that need real food and it’s not even food that’s healthy,” Bickel said.

His app would let donors choose from fresh food that would be delivered to pantries or soup kitchens right from stores.

Bickel said they are “options that could suit a kid that has gluten allergy.”

Bickel said he needs a few thousand dollars to develop the app, which he feels could “change people’s lives.”

“As a donor, I would love to know that I could donate $50 that I know if going to go to just buy healthy food,” he said.

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