Hoboken’s Toni Tomarazzo Receives New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award



Sidewalk Plaque to be Installed to Honor Tomarazzo for Creating the Hoboken Food Pantry which has Fed Provided More Than 18,445 Bags of Food to Those in Need Since Opening in 2019


November 5, 2021 (Hoboken, NJ) — Hobokenite Toni Tomarazzo was recently granted the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for her work creating the Hoboken Food Pantry (HFP).  To celebrate, a ceremony was held yesterday at the HFP where Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, County Commissioner Anthony Romano, City Councilwomen Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher, Hoboken Community Center (HCC) Board President Kenneth Nilsen, and HFP Director of Operations Chesleigh Meade spoke about Tomarazzo’s achievements.


“Toni’s selfless dedication to address food insecurity in her community represents the very best New Jersey has to offer,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Along with her team of hundreds of volunteers and donors, Toni has made an indelible impact on the city of Hoboken and our state. I am grateful for Toni’s outstanding work with the Hoboken Food Pantry and am proud to honor her with the Jefferson Award.”


“I could not think of a more deserving individual to be honored with the Jefferson Award than Toni Tomarazzo,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “Through Toni’s commitment and dedication, the Hoboken Food Pantry was a lifeline for residents facing food insecurity during a global pandemic. Because of her compassion and the compassion of the volunteers she organized, residents concerned about their health and well-being or where their next paycheck would come from did not need to worry about their next meal. I am honored to know Toni, and I thank her for her relentless service to our City and its residents.”


“I’ve seen Toni in action for many years, and the one constant about her is she always puts others first,” said Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro. “She is a relentless fighter for the needs of others and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her compassion and service.”


“It’s a pleasure working with Toni for the good of those in need and developing a friendship that continues to grow,” said Hudson County Commissioner Anthony L. Romano.


According to the award’s website, “Honorees of the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensations. Recipients demonstrate unique vision, dedication and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as inspiration for others.”


“Toni is the most altruistic human we have ever had the privilege of knowing,” said Councilwomen Jen Giattino and Tiffanie Fisher. “If we all could be a fraction of the woman she is, imagine what our world would be like. The Jefferson awards were started by Jackie Kennedy Onassis in 1972 and are considered the Nobel Prize of volunteerism. When we saw the opportunity to nominate someone for this award, we knew it should be Toni. To us, and I am sure to all who know her, Toni is exactly the person who deserves such an honor.”


The HCC Board of Directors voted to recognize Tomarazzo’s efforts with a plaque to be installed on the sidewalk in front of the HFP. The HCC will be applying for a sidewalk plaque from the City of Hoboken.


What began as a small operation in 2019 to address food insecurities of the 96 low-income men living in the HCC’s Single Room Occupancy housing program has grown to feed more than 400 local households per month. In less than two years, Tomarazzo has inspired over 350 engaged volunteers who worked 2,310 hours, and 1,300 partners and donors to support the HFP. With their help, the organization has provided 18,445 bags to those in need. It also expanded its offerings to provide 100 families with non-food items such as diapers, toiletries and cleaning products biweekly.


“The ability of the HFP to serve is due to the unwavering support provided by many individuals and organizations in our community.  It has saved, for example, our senior citizens from choosing between medicine or food and has helped families keep nutritious food on the table,” said Tomarazzo.


She and the HFP source items from the Community Food Bank of NJ, Hudson County, and other private and non-profit food resources. What the HFP is unable to use, she personally delivers to other area shelters and charitable organizations.


Tomarazzo has served as associate general counsel and executive director at UBS, Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company, since 2003. Prior to joining UBS, she was counsel at Prudential Financial and, before that, a director of enforcement and investment for the American Stock Exchange.


In addition to her achievements in the business world, Tomarazzo is a board member of the Hoboken Community Center, Susquehanna University and a longtime member and former chair of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority. As chairwoman of the authority, she is credited with helping to save the city’s hospital, Hoboken University Medical Center, which was on the verge of closure. After Hurricane Sandy, she was a board member of the Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund. She graduated from Susquehanna University in 1984 with a degree in finance and subsequently completed her law degree at Seton Hall University in 2002.


To learn more about the HFP, including how to donate or shop the Amazon Wish List, visit hobokencc.org.


About The Hoboken Food Pantry
The Hoboken Food Pantry is a community resource for a hunger-free Hoboken. The Pantry is a part of the Hoboken Community Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which also provides affordable housing to 96 low-income men. The Pantry gives essential food and personal hygiene supplies to residents of the affordable housing program and any community residents experiencing food insecurity. The Pantry is a member agency of the Community Food Bank of NJ.