Newark Working Kitchens (NWK), a COVID-19 response that is enabling Newark restaurants to provide nutritious meals to low-income seniors and families, announced today that it has served more than 500,000 meals at more than 10,000 since it launched in early April Residents in 60 locations were delivered. All meals are prepared in NWK’s 24 participating restaurants, including minority and women-owned establishments. NWK has saved hundreds of jobs during the pandemic and helped restaurants restart their services and get employees back on board over the past six months.

With thousands of elderly, low-income, and disabled residents still struggling to access healthy meals during the pandemic, NWK is committed to continuing to raise funds to ensure safe and consistent access to food and the most popular local restaurants in Newark to obtain.

“Without NWK, I would have nothing,” said Kai Campbell, owner of Veggie Walla. “I can’t even describe how this program helped. I don’t make any money, but I can keep investing in my business because my bills are getting paid. “

“We don’t have a lunch break anymore and that’s how we made our living,” said Edwin Rosario, owner of O’LaLa Empanadas. “At least 80 percent of our business comes from Newark Working Kitchens.”

“Our employees can just rest now that they have their jobs and know their families will be fine,” said Daniela Hoyos, co-owner of Fresh Coast.

“Six months ago, when the pandemic closed restaurants, it was impossible to imagine the way forward or to imagine that today we would reach this incredible milestone of serving 500,000 meals to the needy here in Newark,” said Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Owner of Marcus B & P and owner of the Marcus Samuelsson Group. “I am so proud of our team at Marcus B&P for the quality and care they put into each dish and of all of the partners, donors and other restaurants who work every day to tackle food insecurity.”

“Newark Working Kitchens has helped maintain vital jobs and small businesses, and provide vital nutritional support to underserved communities,” said Senator Cory Booker. “These efforts have created a successful model to support the tremendous comeback our city is currently making, and I hope that this effort will expand in New Jersey and across the country to further increase the health and economic devastation of this pandemic fight.”

“Newark Working Kitchens has not only helped sustain many of Newark’s restaurants affected by COVID-19, but has also helped our residents get the meals they need most,” said Ras J. Baraka, Newark Mayor . “Five hundred thousand NWK meals later and we are still facing the challenges of the pandemic. So I encourage all Newark corporate citizens to join the donor consortium as we continue to work together to help our small businesses protect local jobs and deliver food to our community. “

Newark Working Kitchens was founded by Audible, a company dedicated to improving the lives of the communities in which it operates. NWK has received private and philanthropic support to support this COVID-19 crisis response effort, including a $ 500,000 grant from the City of Newark and donations from Audible, PSEG, TD Bank, New Jersey Devils Managing Partners in Josh Harris and David Blitzer Working with the Devils Care Foundation and numerous other local businesses, as well as other organizations and individuals. The founders of NWK are preparing a broad campaign to welcome new investment partners in government, business, and philanthropy to expand the program to meet small business and food deprivation needs in Newark and the model across New Jersey and beyond to convey.

“Newark Working Kitchens has been validated as a powerful response model for helping communities deal with the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis,” said Don Katz, founder and CEO of Audible. “We need cross-industry donors and tiers to support this win-win for community members who don’t have enough groceries and independent small businesses to stay in business and keep chefs, servers and delivery people running.”

“I’ve learned that businesses and nonprofits can work hand in hand to help people with the same goals and objectives,” said Amina Bey, general manager of Newark Emergency Services for Families. “Newark Working Kitchens has helped so many people get through their darkest hour, but the need continues to grow as this crisis progresses.”

Two weeks ago, Audible launched its global urban development center to expand the company’s community and economic investments. The center will bring together Audible’s many initiatives, including NWK and Audible’s collaboration with internationally heralded early-stage mutual fund Newark Venture Partners. Audible recently engaged Aisha Glover, director of business development in Newark, to develop new, scalable community investment models that are geared towards promoting equality, racial justice and economic empowerment.

As with NWK and NVP, the center will work closely with the City of Newark, assisting NWK in determining food delivery needs and distributing with tenant associations and a growing list of community organizations including Ironbound Community Corporation, Bridges Outreach and Newark Emergency Services for Families, Palm Street Block Association, Newark Homeless Coalition, NJCRI / Crossroads One Stop Shop, Tree House Care, Willing Heart Community Care Center, Clinton Hill Community Action, and YMCA. For more information, email [email protected] or donate here.

NWK restaurants currently participating, many of which are part of Audible’s Lunch Out Wednesday program, include: Andros Restaurant & Diner, Barcade, Blueprint Cafe, Bulgogi Zip, City Rub Smokehouse, Fresh Shore, Harvest Table, Kilkenny Alehouse, King’s Family Restaurant & Catering, King’s Familienrestaurant Nr. 1, La Cocina, Lit 21, Marcus B & P, McGoverns Taverne, Mercato Tomatentorte / Novelty Burger, Nizi Sushi, O’LaLa Empanadas, Panzz Seafood & Wings, Pita Square, Roberts Pizza, Sigri Indian BBQ, The Halal Guys, Uncle Willies Wings and Veggie Walla.

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