JM Group’s Jack Morrison honored by Mercer Street Friends at annual awards ceremony

group photo of award winners
(l to r) Courtney Matlock of Mercer Street Friends; Robert LeFever, Jack Morrison, Adam Taliaferro, Mercer Street Friends CEO Bernie Flynn, Odie LeFever.

Restauranteur Jack Morrison, president of the JM Group, was honored by the Mercer Street Friends on Tuesday for his service to the community.

Mercer Street Friends, a nonprofit that supports local families through food and education programs, hosted their third annual leadership awards event at the organization’s food bank in Ewing. More than 200 guests gathered to celebrate local leaders for their dedication to service to the Greater Trenton community.

Morrison received the organization’s philanthropic leadership award for 25 years of helping people in need through Mercer Street Friends. Morrison began his relationship with the organization by sponsoring a Thanksgiving turkey drive and later expanded his efforts to provide more support for food bank initiatives to combat food insecurity county-wide. Because of the direct and immediate impact “feeding people” has, Morrison said he knew he’d found an organization that aligned with his purpose and sense of service.

“This is a moment to celebrate the hard work and dedication of Mercer Street Friends,” Morrison said at the event. “Their commitment to serving those in need is far greater than anyone receiving an award. They deserve the accolades.”

Odie and Bob LeFever were awarded the Robert M. Appelbaum Service Award for their leadership and dedication to Mercer Street Friends. Odie LeFever, a former trustee and board chair for the nonprofit, began her tenure with Mercer Street Friends in 1997. Prior to her leadership roles, she was a dedicated volunteer, packing bags in the basement of the organization’s original facility, the Meetinghouse in the Mill Hill section of Trenton, which now houses the administrative offices of Mercer Street Friends. Bob LeFever had a significant impact on the organization when he took on the director of advancement role. LeFever broadened the organization’s reach by strengthening relationships with donors, volunteers, and the community at large.

“Odie and Bob are great examples of Quakers being in service to the community,” said Ken Blackwell, board chair of Mercer Street Friends. “Together, their on-the-ground efforts have been important to helping Mercer Street Friends grow into the organization that it is today.”

Adam Taliaferro, director of strategic alliances and former New Jersey Assemblyman, accepted the corporate leadership and public service award on behalf of Bristol Myers Squibb. Supporting Mercer Street Friends’ mission since 1997, Bristol Myers Squibb employees continue to share their time and talent with the organization’s food bank helping with critical programs for students and seniors.

“At BMS we recognize the role we must play to create the change necessary to improve the health of the underserved within our communities,” Taliaferro said. “And we have made it our priority to focus resources on eliminating the barriers that exist for underserved and minority communities.”