BAYONNE, NJ - The turn out for free food in the 16th Street Park appears to have doubled since the city took over operations from Hunger Free Bayonne last month.

After four and half years of helping to feed the hungry in Bayonne, Hunger Free Bayonne decided in early June to cease operations in the city and concentrate elsewhere in the county.

“People are just getting used to our being here again,” said Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski. “There was a gap of about two weeks when there was no food distributed.” People began to line up before 9:30 a.m. on Thursday for a give away scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m.

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Wearing masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 and carrying umbrellas to protect against the harsh summer sun, more than 500 people lined up along the path for several hundred yards as the giveaway began, a number that already matched that of past distribution efforts. 

The program was taken over by Bayonne for Bayonne, an initiative of the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF), with volunteers – including several Bayonne police officers –helping unload trucks of food stuff given to the program by Table to Table, a community-based food rescue program that collects prepared and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations serving the hungry in the Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic counties.

In efforts to beat the intense heat operations were moved to one of the park’s gazebos with those who had made it to the front, some carrying boxes on their heads, made their way back up the long hill out of the park with their food which included bags of carrots, cases of water, boxes of pretzels and more.

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