NEWARK, NJ – While families in Newark and across the state may not have extended family gatherings on this Thanksgiving Day, that hasn’t stopped Brick City from longing to serve those in need.

The impact of the pandemic on the city’s 280,000 residents has increased unemployment and homelessness while reducing access to certain services. From turkey freebies to hot meals, Newark and Essex County’s residents and institutions are responding to these difficulties with philanthropic Ferver.

Watch as people come together in Newark to bring a hot Thanksgiving meal to as many as possible.

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City of Newark, partners distribute 6,000 turkeys

Newark has partnered with the Believe in Newark Foundation, the Shop-Rite of Newark, HelloFresh, Green Giant, Pepsi, Sylvias Soul Food Products and others to put 6,000 turkeys in the hands of residents.

The city, sponsored by Believe in Newark, was also able to distribute canned goods, side dishes, desserts, produce, and other groceries. Volunteers gathered to put together the care packages at the JFK Recreation Center.

“2020 was a challenging year, but through our unity, our commitment to progress and our love for one another, we still have a lot to thank. I am happy to announce this season’s bonus to our residents, along with my wishes for a blessed harvest festival, ”said Mayor Ras Baraka.

In total, Newark and its partners distributed:

Newark Shop Rite: 6,000 turkeys
HelloFresh: Delivery of 5,000 kits with Thanksgiving side dishes
Green giant: 6,000 units of canned food donated
Pepsi: 3,000 units of various Pepsi products donated
Sylvias Soul Food products: Several units from Sylvias Food product line donated
Bindi North America, Inc .: 1291 boxes of Mini-Mixed Berry Tarts
Brantley Brothers: Transported donations to the JFK location
Baldor’s: Several cases of fresh produce

“Each year, the Believe In Newark Foundation works with the City of Newark to donate thousands of turkeys to families in Newark who need to show our love and support for these families so they can partake of the special warmth of this festive season.” said Faith in Newark Foundation Chairman Andre Hollis.

Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association

In the Northern District, the Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association continued its annual tradition of distributing turkeys to families in need. This year 1,300 turkeys were distributed to 18 churches, senior residences and non-profit organizations. ARJ Civic has been organizing food distribution since the coronavirus pandemic began in the spring, helping to distribute thousands of boxes of food.

“We’ve been helping families in need around Thanksgiving for years,” Councilor Anibal Ramos Jr. said, “But this year we’re seeing a lot more need from families injured from the coronavirus pandemic. I’m glad we can . ” come in to help so many of our neighbors. “

Ramos said ARJ Civic had support from Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Rep. Eliana Pintor Marin, Baraka, Councilors Luis A. Quintana and Carlos M. Gonzalez, and Essex County’s Hispanic Law Enforcement Coalition.

Vegan Thanksgiving Day for those struggling with homelessness

Last year, TAPinto Newark reported on Hip Hop, Green’s unique vegan Thanksgiving event. While indoor gatherings were suspended due to COVID-19, that didn’t stop HHG from partnering with local restaurants and the nonprofits Bridges Outreach and Mercy for Animals to provide vegan meals to the homeless.

Monarch Housing Associates estimates the number of homeless people in Newark at nearly 2,000 in January 2019, but the number is likely to be much higher now due to the economic impact of COVID-19. On Tuesday, volunteers opened a store outside Bridges Outreach’s home base on Halsey Street.

The food served to approximately 100 Newark residents with no address was healthy, plant-based cuisine from 5 local vegan restaurants, according to Peter Ortiz, the main organizer of MFA.

“I met Bridges Outreach a few months ago while volunteering as Newark’s lead organizer for Mercy For Animals,” said Ortiz. “Thanks to an MFA initiative called Plants to the People, which focused on helping vegan restaurants during the pandemic, we were able to pay 10 vegan restaurants / vegan chefs to prepare and deliver their food to programs run by two nonprofits in Newark Three-month periods were carried out over a period of one year. ”

During the course of the pandemic (no pun intended), Plants to the People delivered meals to Bridges Outreach, who then drove them and delivered those meals to the unprotected people of the city.

Richard Uniacke, Executive Director of Brides, said generosity is more important than ever today as many services are currently unavailable for the homeless, such as: B. Showers and indoor rooms to stay warm during the day.

“This year is very different from the same time last year. We’re really concerned about the onset of the cold weather and the people who don’t have a chance to warm up during the day – you can’t go to the (YMCA), you can’t go to the library, ”he said. “In cooperation with the city and the new homeless services office, we are working on other options, especially options outside the community.”

Readers can help Bridges provide COVID-19 safe winter options for the homeless in Newark at bridgeoutreach.org.

Newark Working Kitchens enabled local restaurants to deliver meals

Newark Working Kitchens (NWK), which pays local restaurants to package nutritious meals for seniors and low-income families, is preparing to deliver 10,000 Thanksgiving meals by November 26th.

The 24 restaurants that are part of NWK and have served more than 600,000 during the pandemic are creating menus based on Thanksgiving theme. NWK is helping restaurants supplement their weakened incomes while serving those who are hungry during COVID-19.

Each of the 24 Newark-based restaurants in NWK have created their own Thanksgiving-inspired menu and deliver thousands of meals to locals in senior, low-income, and handicapped accessible homes.

This collaboration was made possible by a special donation from Audible’s Black Employee Network (BEN). Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens in April as a continuation of its longstanding support for local restaurants.

“I celebrate and thank these amazing restaurants that have delivered more than 600,000 meals and continue to cook Thanksgiving for their neediest neighbors,” said Don Katz, founder and chief executive officer of Audible. “Newark Working Kitchens continues to be seen as a win-win for community members who don’t have enough groceries and independent small businesses to stay in business. I call on corporations, philanthropies, and donors of all levels of donation to help us sustain this important program. ”

“2020 has been a challenging year and for many it will be a very different Thanksgiving festival than it has been in the past. That’s why we appreciate high-impact supporters like Newark Working Kitchens (NWK) helping our residents through these times,” said Newark Mayor Ras J Baraka.

Since launching in April, NWK has delivered meals to more than 10,000 residents in 60 locations. All meals are prepared in NWK’s 24 participating restaurants, more than half of which are minorities, women, or both. NWK saved hundreds of jobs during the pandemic and helped restaurants restart their services and get employees back on track in the past six months, according to a press release.

“Everyone deserves to have a hot meal during the holiday season. Especially this year when we’re in the middle of a pandemic, it’s important that we take care of our neighbors, “said Walter Green, owner of Uncle Willie’s Wings We could have ever imagined. This Thanksgiving Day I’m so grateful that I survived Covid-19 and that my restaurant survived its first year of operation. None of this would have been possible if I could not be part of Newark Working Kitchens for Newark at this difficult time. “

Essex County

Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Essex County Executive Director, along with Essex County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders, distributed nearly 3,000 frozen turkeys and boxes of non-perishable food that were being distributed at the Essex County’s Brook Park Cherry Park Blossom Welcome Center were. The program is designed to benefit families who have become unemployed and cannot afford to eat.