Feed the Frontlines Helping Those In Need Initiative
Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those In Need Initiative began as a call-to-action to provide ready-to-eat meals prepared by local Ridgewood restaurants to first responders, community groups and people in need during the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic in Spring 2020, it was an organized way for people to help feed local healthcare workers, first responders and people in need while supporting local restaurants who have been hit hard economically. This initiative earned the volunteer leadership team the 2021 NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award for volunteer program in September 2021.
Based on the generosity of the public and the success of the initial program, The HealthBarn Foundation was awarded $1M for 100,000 meals from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Sustain and Serve Grant in February 2021 to feed those in need in Ridgewood and in Bergen County, NJ. Our mission continued to build momentum to support local restaurants while making sure the most vulnerable populations in Bergen County had delicious, nutritious hot meals on their tables. The incredibly successful program concluded with heavy hearts in June 2021 as our team knew that the hunger need was not resolved for so many. The team received U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer”s Fifth District Hometown Heroes Award in July 2021.
NJEDA announced Phase 2 funding for the Sustain and Serve Grant, and HealthBarn Foundation was awarded $2M for 200,000 meals to continue our good works going. Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need powered up again in September 2021 to purchase, hot, nutritious meals meals from local restaurants, driven by a fleet of 400 volunteer drivers to 29 food pantries and organizations throughout Bergen County and Paterson, NJ through March 31, 2022. NJEDA announced Phase 3 of Sustain & Serve grant funding in February 2022. We look forward to keeping this important & sustainable initiative going.
This initiative is made up of HealthBarn Foundation 501(c)(3), The Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce, Bergen County Food Security Task Force, Bergen Volunteer Center, and many volunteers under the leadership of Commissioners Ramon Hache and Tracy Zur. It is a creative solution to help where help is needed. For more details, click here for the press announcement.