BAYONNE, NJ - Hundreds of people lined up in 16th Street Park on Friday waiting for the truck to deliver free food as volunteers gathered up bags to hand out.
This is something of an ad hoc arrangement, said Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who was among the many who eventually began to put together the bags.
After four and half years of helping to feed the hungry in Bayonne, Hunger Free Bayonne has decided to cease operations in the city and concentrate elsewhere in the county, said Ashe-Nadrowski
“We’ve decided to pick up the slack,” she said. “At least until we can figure out what else to do. We’re trying to provide the same service. We’ve reached out to Table to Table to bring the truck full of food here. We’re filling the gap for the moment.”
The service is sometimes chaotic.
“We don’t always know if we can get the truck” she said. “Hunger Free Bayonne also provided food for about 500 people.”
City officials announced that the truck would arrive at about noon, but people started lining up in the park much earlier, and more people kept arriving even as volunteers began to distribute bags of food.
On this day, the truck delivered crates full of onions, garlic, carrots, spinach as well as prepared food. The Department of Public Works put up tents because forecasters predicted rain, but even this did not reduce the number of people waiting.
“We don’t always know what we’re going to have,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “We put together bags to distribute what we get.”
Earlier this month, the city helped establish a city foodbank using $20,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation.
Between the food delivery like this and the food bank, Ashe-Nadrowski hopes to be able to provide for the neediest in the city.
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