Rent Party’s Dickson honored in Trenton

Photo Courtesy of Chris Dickson
Chris Dickson was honored at the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards on Saturday, June 2, for his vision and dedication in the establishment of Rent Party, a local nonprofit that raises funds and implements programs to combat food insecurity and hunger in the area.

TRENTON, NJ — Rent Party co-founder Chris Dickson was an Honoree at the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards on Saturday, June 2, in Trenton. Dickson was lauded in the founders and innovators category, which “recognizes individuals whose vision and dedication result in the establishment of a new organization to meet unmet needs or new improved means of meeting those needs.” Dickson was nominated by Maplewood resident Tom Nevius.

Started in 2009 by Dickson and co-founder David Wagner, Rent Party is a live music series at The Woodland in Maplewood. The proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in Maplewood and South Orange. Rent Party financially supports the St. Joseph’s, Our Lady of Sorrows and Oheb Shalom food pantries. Rent Party built and maintains a large community garden on the front lawn of the South Orange Elks property that raises fresh produce for the pantries it supports. The BackPack Pals program provides a weekend’s worth of nutritious food to approximately 100 food-insecure children each week in South Orange and Maplewood schools.

While “humbled” by the recognition, Dickson is quick to point out that “Rent Party is a truly team effort. Every single thing Rent Party has done in the last nine years is because of our volunteers. From the crew that makes the shows happen, to the BackPack Pals and Garden volunteers, nothing happens without our volunteers.”

Dickson was also humbled by the ceremonies in Trenton.

“It was an amazing group of volunteers from around the state, folks doing some incredible stuff for their neighbors,” Dickson said, adding that he was impressed by the diversity of the honorees. “There are folks of all shapes, sizes, religions and colors making a real impact in their communities. It was a privilege to be part of that.”

The New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards is a joint program administered by The Community Foundation of New Jersey, The Star-Ledger Powering and The Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, with support from corporate underwriters. It is a local program of the Jefferson Awards, a national volunteer recognition program established in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service in cooperation with the U.S. Senate and the White House, and designed to honor volunteers in all areas of the United States.

To learn more about Rent Party, visit