Claudia Wheeler, Executive Director
Claudia Wheeler is the founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit 501(c)3 SALT Foundation, Inc. SALT Foundation works with a wide range of partners to provide New Jersey families in need with thousands of pounds of healthy food that would otherwise go to waste.
For the past 12 years, Ms. Wheeler has collected and delivered over 225,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, other food products, as well as clothing and supplies, to food pantries, homeless shelters, hospitals, churches, schools, mobile pop-up pantries, womens shelters, other community groups, food drives, and special events. She has driven over 150,000 miles in partnering with supermarkets and retail stores – including multiple Trader Joe’s and Walmart locations as well as Wegmans in Princeton – along with New Jersey farms and other food suppliers. SALT picks up and distributes an average of 7,600 pounds of health food each week that would otherwise go to waste!
Since the onset of COVID-19, Ms. Wheeler and SALT Foundation have distributed over 10,500 bags of healthy food, households goods and clothing to in-need individuals and families at 75 weekly giveaway events every Sunday at 2 p.m. from SALT’s storefront office on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. These giveaways have special significance in a city where over 40,000 tons of food are wasted each year - with one in ten Jersey City residents suffering from food insecurity. SALT has also partnered on mobile food pantry giveaway events at various locations in Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, Teaneck, Hackensack, Edison, New Brunswick, Somerset, East Brunswick, Trenton, and Howell.
SALT Foundation was recognized as the “Hero of the Month” for August 2021 by the global fundraising network GoFundMe and the global social impact company Upworthy. The companies released a feature story and podcast, titled “This Woman Delivered So Much Food to People in Need, Her Car Literally Broke Down.” Mrs. Wheeler has also been recognized as Woman of the Month by both the Business Women Networking Involving Charity & Education, and the Allegheny East Conference. SALT and Ms. Wheeler have also been profiled in the Star Ledger, Jersey Journal, NJ.com, FDU Magazine, The Ukrainian Weekly, Visitor Magazine, and Hudson Reporter.
A United States Navy veteran of both active duty and military reserves, Ms. Wheeler is also an elementary school teacher in Trenton Public Schools, where she has taught for the past 10 years, with 14 years total teaching experience. Ms. Wheeler earned two Master’s degrees in Administrative Science and Elementary Education, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, all from Fairleigh Dickinson University.