How did this happen?

The NJ Community Foodbank's new truck hits the road... check out the names on the back!

The idea for Bruce Sent Me evolved in October 2003, during the last week of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band's "The Rising Tour." Plans were underway for a party to commemorate the last show, and a note appeared online, inspired by the message that Springsteen delivered each night during his tour -- get involved in your community, give a hand to your brother, and make a difference. The response was immediate and dramatic. Donations marked "Bruce Sent Me" instantly began pouring in to the websites of the suggested charities (so quickly and steadily, in fact, that the Foodbanks themselves actually added a "Bruce Sent Me" check box to their online donation forms, not too shabby!).

Several weeks after our story began, the New Jersey Foodbank lost its truck and most of its Thanksgiving deliveries in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. Bruce Sent Me immediately put out the word, and donations from caring Springsteen fans again came rolling in. Thanks in no small part to the immediate response of Bruce Sent Me donors, the Community Foodbank of New Jersey had a replacement vehicle on site within a week after the accident. The following month, Bruce Sent Me raffled off a pair of tickets to the sold-out "Bruce Springsteen and Friends" Holiday Concert in Asbury Park, by asking people to donate directly to a local foodbank for each entry, raising approximately ten thousand dollars in eight days. Months down the line, even in Bruce's "off-season," contributions inspired by his music continue to arrive to hunger relief organizations across America.

  • What is particularly inspiring are not just all the donations, but the pages and pages of heartfelt posts on the many Bruce Sent Me threads which have been posted in various online communities.. the story unfolded one heart at a time. Many people are taking it upon themselves to share the story with other friends... sending out links to this site, forwarding the periodic updates sent to our mailing list, and finding their own ways to spread the word about Bruce Sent Me in their own communities... grass roots activism in action.

    On February 7. 2004, The Foodbank for NYC honored the efforts of the campaign by hosting "Bruce Sent Me To The Foodbank" at their main warehouse. Bruce Sent Me supporters were given a tour of the facility and the opportunity to actually render services packaging meals for the hungry... a rare glimpse of how our donations are put to use.

  • These are among the many pages of responses to the original "Bruce Sent Me" message:

    "I was really moved reading about the good folks opening their hearts and wallets to the critical needs of the South Jersey Food Bank. So, this morning I called with the 'Bruce Sent Me' message to make a donation. As a long-time Bruce devotee, I'd like to believe that in addition to the therapy he provides for me and others through his music and passion, that we've also learned through his inspiration to think outside ourselves and connect to others who are struggling to simply exist. Thanks to all of you for renewing my faith by extending yourselves in the true spirit of Bruce. We really need to spread the word as I think we can do even better. I know we can."

    "Great post. Although I'm fairly new, it makes me proud to be here. I will be donating as I have been all along, but for those who feel they can't afford to donate money or tangible goods, you can always donate your time. There are food banks in just about every town in America. They are always looking for help picking up, sorting and delivering donations. Everyone can help. It's not hard to make a difference. Give a couple of hours a week, pick up some extra groceries at the store or donate online. I'm a kid who used to go to bed hungry and it's people like us who kept me fed, gave me clothes and made me believe in the human spirit. Keep that spirit alive. Donate, donate, donate."

    "Okay... so I'm at the grocery store here in Jersey. I turned in the Food Bank coupons at the checkout that adds money to your bill, the proceeds go to the NJ Food Bank. It's the Shop-Rite Check Out Hunger program-- look for it next time if you shop there. Told the very young cashier, 'Bruce sent me.' The look I received was priceless. 'You mean Springsteen? You know him?' "

  • Bruce Sent Me has not only been warmly embraced by Springsteen fans, it has received considerable press coverage (without really trying!) in the few short months of its existence. The story has been featured in newspapers including The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Bergen Record, and The Press of Atlantic City, and word of the campaign has made its way to area radio stations. The Foodbank for NYC featured the story in its quarterly newsletter, and there was television and radio coverage of the recent "Bruce Sent Me to the Foodbank" event, as a group of "Bruce Sent Me" volunteers packed ten thousand pounds of food in under two hours.

    Earlier this year, Bruce Sent Me became affiliated with America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, to enable fans across the country to be able to donate to foodbanks in their own communities. As you can see by visiting the links on our "How to Help" page... Bruce Sent Me everywhere!


    Everybody's got a hungry heart...
    But nobody should have to go hungry.

"Bruce Sent Me" to the New York Times!