Helen verDuin Palit
Founder & President, Maple Leaf Harvest | America Harvest Inc.
Helen verDuin Palit has been Named a Professional of the Year in Nonprofit Operations Management
Ms. verDuin Palit takes unused perishable food and repurposes it to feed the needy

TORONTO, ON, April 21, 2015, Helen verDuin Palit, Founder and President of America Harvest Inc. and of Maple Leaf Harvest, has been named a 2014 Worldwide Branding Professional of the Year in Nonprofit Operations Management.

Helen is being recognized for her professional experience with strategic planning, leadership development, operations management, logistical systems, and entrepreneurship during her three decades of innovative work as a pioneer in food recovery globally. Food recovery programs collect the un-served perishable food (hot, cold, fresh and frozen) donated from all types of companies and food industries then, within the hour, deliver it free to emergency feeding programs to serve hungry and homeless men, women, and children that day. These programs have served 8 billion meals and counting since 1981 -- often the best food in the city.

Helen conceived of her unique charity in 1981, while managing a soup kitchen sponsored by Yale University in New Haven, CT. She learned that every day a nearby restaurant was throwing away 30 gallons of cooked potato insides. The chef volunteered to deliver these spuds to her soup kitchen daily. Her volunteers were intrigued with the new source of food, and each approached his or her favorite stores, restaurants, and caterers, asking if they too had perishable, unserved food that was going to waste. After three months, they were running a gourmet soup kitchen offering appetizers, salads, beef, pork, chicken and desserts each day. Helen, with her gift for systems development, subsequently developed a food recovery and distribution program for all of New Haven. New York City Mayor Ed Koch read a story in the "New York Times" on Helen's innovative program and invited her to develop the same program in his city. With the mayor's continued support, she expanded and refined the food recovery system to operate with huge success at a big-city scale.

As the media reported Helen's successes, concerned people in other cities wanted their own Harvest programs. In response, Helen established America Harvest and wrote a 627-page "How to Harvest Manual" to teach others how to organize and manage perishable food harvest programs. Today there are 1,317 independent Harvest programs in nine countries that are adapting Helen's model to their city's unique culture and ethos. She and her dedicated team guide these local organizations in all aspects of this innovative charity work, including approaching food industries, identifying emergency feeding programs that need the food, and partnering with local government agencies to train volunteers in proper food handling.

Helen's Harvest model has been featured on CNN, Charlie Rose, Canada's CTV TATS news show, ABC World News Tonight, El Entertainment, and in newspapers and magazines such as Fortune, New York Times, Toronto Star, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, plus many radio programs, newspapers, and magazines around the world.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush named Helen the Fourth Point of Light in his Thousand Points of Light of Community Service Program, for her creation of City Harvest in New York City and her commitment to replicate that program in other cities. She served on the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Hunger from 1986 to 1991. She received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2012 which was approved by the House of Representatives. and was nominated for a World Food Prize in 2011. In 1998, Helen was named a Woman of Achievement by the Century City Chamber of Commerce. In September 2014, in Honolulu, she was invested as a Dame into the Knights of the Order of Saint John, Russian Grand Priory, Under the Spiritual Protection of the Orthodox Churches for her volunteer work.

Helen earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Texas Tech University in 1978 and received the university's Distinguished Alumna Award for Career Achievement from their Ex-Students Association in 1994. In 1988, she succcessfully completed training at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business Institute for Not-for-Profit Management and that same year was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.

To learn more about America Harvest, visit http://americaharvest.org and Maple Leaf Harvest, please visit http://mapleleafharvest.org

Helen verDuin Palit
Founder, President - Maple Leaf Harvest
Founder, President - America Harvest Inc.
Specializing in Strategic Planning
Privacy Policy