NEW JERSEY NATURAL GAS ANNOUNCES $125,000 IN DONATIONS TO SUPPORT COVID-19 RESPONSE AT COMMUNITY FOOD BANKS
JRs in Red Bank among nearly 30 businesses benefiting from Fulfill's Restaurant Partnership Program
WALL, N.J., April 8, 2020 – With the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to impact the lives of New Jerseyans and placing added stress on the resources of community nonprofits, New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today announced it has made additional donations to community food banks in its service territory, bringing its total support to these lifeline organizations to $125,000 at a time of dramatically increased need.
NJNG is providing $100,000 in funding to Fulfill, serving Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and $25,000 to Interfaith Food Pantry, serving Morris County.
NJNG Underwriting Fulfill’s Restaurant Partnership Program to Benefit Hard-Hit Small Businesses and Feed Those in Need
The contribution by NJNG is among the largest contributions to Fulfill for its response to COVID-19, and will allow Fulfill to extend its Restaurant Partnership Program, which benefits distressed local businesses and food bank clients alike.
“This public health crisis is impacting our state, local businesses and the most vulnerable in our communities in an unprecedented way,” said Steve Westhoven, President and CEO of New Jersey Natural Gas. “Our cornerstone community food banks are experiencing demand like never before, and NJNG is committed to help ensure their vital work continues at this critical time. In particular, we’re honored to support the innovative work of Fulfill’s Restaurant Partnership Program, which is delivering targeted relief to distressed local businesses, while getting meals to those most in need.”
Fulfill launched the Restaurant Partnership Program in mid-March in direct response to the coronavirus crisis to help meet the demand for food. With thousands of meals no longer being prepared at soup kitchens and other feeding programs which were forced to close, Fulfill partnered with local restaurants. Restaurants prepare single meals for people in need, and Fulfill gives them a $5 per meal stipend.
"NJNG's generous donation to Fulfill comes at a critical time for our community. The funds will help Fulfill's Restaurant Partnership Program grow. Through this partnership, Fulfill and local restaurants are feeding nutritious meals to hungry children, seniors, veterans, and shut ins during one of the most challenging times in history. At the same time, the partnership also helps to keep more of our neighbors 'off the line'. By teaming up with restaurants, we help those small businesses keep the lights on, pay their rent and keep employees working longer. Thank you, NJNG!" said Fulfill CEO and President Kim Guadagno, the former Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey.
Nearly 30 local businesses currently benefit from the program, preparing meals benefitting over 30 recipient organizations, such as schools (for distribution to food insecure students) and shelters, and nonprofits like the Boys and Girls Clubs and Salvation Army.
"Being able to participate in this program has been a great experience,” said Mike DeSimone of JR’s restaurant in Red Bank, which is preparing meals for Belmar and Long Branch schools as part of the program. “It has allowed us to keep our people working and be a part of a great cause. My staff and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to be involved."
"We are so grateful to Fulfill for helping us keep our employees working during this pandemic. Simultaneously, Fulfill gives us the opportunity to give back to those most in need at this uncertain time," said Carolina and Brian Gualtieri, Owners of Piccola Italia in Ocean Township (Monmouth County), which is preparing meals for St. Brigid’s Soup Kitchen in Long Branch.
NJNG Supporting Community Food Banks at a Critical Time
With the economic impact of the public health response to coronavirus being felt sharply and suddenly by families and businesses alike, community food banks have seen a corresponding impact in demand. Compounding the high need, social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders have limited or halted regular donation- and food-drives, squeezing normal supply channels.
“All of us at the Interfaith Food Pantry are so grateful to NJNG for making a difference for our neighbors in their time of need,” said Carolyn Lake of Interfaith Food Pantry. “From the energy assistance programs made available throughout the year to helping us ensure food security for New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents, their efforts strengthen our communities and provide hope and inspiration during these trying times. Thank you for your ongoing support, and for truly caring!”
NJNG also reminds its customers that energy assistance programs are available to help those experiencing difficulty with their utility bills. If you or someone you know is an NJNG utility residential customer in need of assistance, call 800-221-0051 and say "energy assistance" at the prompt to speak with an NJNG customer service representative, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
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