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MAKING A MARK: Newport News leader recruits fellow community advocates to give back during COVID-19

Now more than ever, it's important to find ways to support the community and help people in need. Tiffany Boyle is urging others to help fight food insecurity.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Paying it forward in the middle of a pandemic.

Newport News Commissioner of the Revenue Tiffany Boyle is a 2019 honoree of Inside Business Journal's 'Top 40 under 40', recognizing successful young professionals involved in the community. With people facing hunger amid the crisis, Boyle thought her fellow honorees would be the perfect group to help.

"If it's for us, it's for everybody else. If we can be able to have food on the table, we should be able to let everyone have food on the table," said Boyle, who is also a board member for the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. "We get to hear all of these reports and we get firsthand knowledge of who needs help, what communities need help."

Boyle is calling on the members of every 'Top 40 under 40' class to donate 40 dollars and/or 40 volunteer minutes for 40 days to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank or the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. "The quality and the criteria for the people who are honorees for the 'Top 40 Under 40', we are honored because we like to give back to the community. We're in the community," says Boyle.

Inside Business Journal Editor Dan Duke said this display of charity is exactly why they've recognized these awardees for more than two decades. "One of the main criteria for the judges is public service," said Duke. "I thought that Tiffany really put some very important things together with helping the food bank and trying to tap into these wonderful people who have shown an ability to make things happen."

As a new 'Top 40 Under 40' group was honored earlier this month, Boyle hopes her give-back initiative extends beyond the age of coronavirus and becomes an annual effort for inductees for years to come. "We [could] actually have a day at the food bank where the 'Top 40 Under 40' honorees, present and past, can actually come together and join in forces... and it just be a movement," said Boyle.

Among the first former honorees to sign on were Newport News Circuit Clerk of Court Angela Reason, AT&T Client Solutions Executive Megin Kennett, and former Virginia Beach Councilman Ben Davenport. Marcus Calabrese, public information officer for the Newport News Commissioner of the Revenue's office, said TowneBank recently pledged to give $1,000 to the initiative.

The drive kicked off October 1, but you still have time to participate. If you are a current or former Inside Business Journal 'Top 40 Under 40' honoree and would like to take part, contact Calabrese at calabresema@nnva.gov or 757-509-0789. Also visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/40under40 to give.