NEWARK, NJ – When Walter “Willie” Green opened his take-away restaurant on Frelinghuysen Avenue in Newark in 2019, little did he know that a pandemic was imminent. But now, two years later, Uncle Willie’s Wings has not only survived the Corona crisis, but is also helping his customers to endure it.
On Saturday June 12th, Green and Uncle Willie’s are bringing the popular Willies Day back to the city’s South Ward. In addition to providing free meals to the community, this year’s event includes health and COVID-19 screenings, health and financial support resources, and family-friendly fun that includes a kids bouncy castle, games, and prizes.
The event will take place at the Training Recreation Education Center (TREC) at 55 Ludlow Street, Newark, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Meals are given on a first come, first served basis and social distancing is maintained. The restaurant plans to serve around 300 meals.
Green, an Army veteran and native of Chicago, moved to Newark about five years ago and quickly developed a love for his new hometown. That love manifested itself in a big way when the pandemic hit New Jersey.
After seeing the plight of many of his neighbors in South Ward, Green decided to do something to help his community. He used all of his restaurant resources to feed 300 people – bringing the very first Willie’s Day to life.
Willie’s Day soon expanded to include other local efforts to help the struggling Brick City residents. Soon Uncle Willie’s Wings was preparing meals for key health workers and postal workers, and donating to children’s cancer charities.
As Newark begins to recover, unemployment and high COVID rates still indicate an urgent need for community support. And after a year of pandemic restrictions, the community deserves a chance to reconnect and support one another, Green said.
“We decided to share our food with the community as part of our Willie’s Day BBQ because we know that we can help families here in this neighborhood,” said Green, explaining the reason for last year’s event.
“People are injured, unemployed, sick and in need,” said Green. “Because we are part of Newark and we truly believe in the power of community, we created this event to fellowship with our neighbors and perhaps bring a little hope and joy in very difficult times.”
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