It’s been almost three years since Cathy Snyder, a Lumberville mother of two college-age children, started canvassing Bucks and Hunterdon farms in the massive Ford Excursion that she won, gleaning leftover produce to supplement the too-often lacking pantries and shelters.
Back then, she was a one-woman, grassroots movement that went by the name Gas Guzzling for Good. In October, the operation formally became a nonprofit and Snyder (pictured, right), accordingly, changed the name to the more politically-correct Rolling Harvest (www.rollingharvest.org). Snyder’s mission remains the same. Now she’s positioned to garner grants as well.
“It’s a pretty serious mission we have. And it’s serious work. If we want to be effective, we needed a more serious name,” says Snyder, a former TV executive who now oversees Rolling Harvest’s volunteer staff on a full-time basis.
Snyder’s impact is already deep, and she’s excavating at a rate usually reserved for episodes of “Gold Rush.” Last year, Gas Guzzling for Gas/Rolling Harvest furnished local food banks with 37,000 tons of vegetables, which exceeded 2011’s haul by 14,000 tons.
“That’s 185,000 servings of vegetables. I don’t know how do to things small scale. It’s kind of a problem,” laughs Snyder, who lavishes the farmers with admiration.
She traces her passion to the time when her ex-husband’s job took the family overseas to Malaysia, where magnificent golf course-side estates sprawled alongside tin shanties. The fact that the same wealth disparity exists in The Garden State was too ironic, Snyder says, to do nothing.
Bolstered by the sudden officialness of everything, the self-described Energizer bunny is aiming to involve kids and infect them with such compassion—none too discreetly, you could imagine. —Avery Greene
Category: At Large Profiles