BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Bernards Township senior citizens who qualify financially would receive meals at home prepared by local restaurants if the township is successful in obtaining $80,000 in anticipated COVID-19 assistance funds.

The program would help both senior citizens and local businesses, Township Mayor Janice Fields said.

The Bernards Township Committee last week formally accepted a $79,971.98 grant that would be used to fund a “Food Security and Wellness Program” during the pandemic that would serve low to moderate-income older residents.

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Bernards already was notified by Somerset County in December that it will receive the special allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant funds, said the resolution approved by the Township Committee last week. The funds are earmarked to "prevent, prepare for or respond to the coronavirus."

However, the funds are only guaranteed after the township's proposed program is approved by Somerset County and the US Housing and Urban Development department, Township Administrator Pat Monaco said afterwards.

Monaco said at the meeting that once the funds are received, he would seek proposals from local restaurants to provide the meals. Besides feeding senior citizens, the program would help reduce their exposure from the COVID-19 virus because the meals would be delivered to their homes, Monaco explained.

Bernards Township Committeewoman Joan Harris called the proposal a "win-win" proposition.