* * * MEDIA ADVISORY * * *
Mental Health Needs Are on the Rise Including Food Insecurity
Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips Drives Hot, Nutritious Meals for Feed the Frontlines Program to West Bergen Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a one-two punch for New Jersey residents coping with food insecurity and mental illness. HealthBarn Foundation’s Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need program funded through a $2M for 200,000 meals from New Jersey Economic Authority (NJEDA) as part of Sustain and Serve Phase 2. HealthBarn Foundation in partnership with the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce purchase 12,000 hot, nutritious meals weekly from Ridgewood restaurants. A fleet of over 400 volunteer drivers transport the meals to where they are needed most in partnership with the Bergen County Security Task Force. Recipients of the meals include clients of food pantries throughout Bergen County, and residents with chronic mental illness at West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Ridgewood, NJ.
NJ Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips has supported the NJEDA’s Sustain and Serve and the Feed the Frontlines Program for getting hot, nutritious meals where they are needed most. With an eye of NJEDA Phase 3 funding, dePhillips hits the road to deliver to one of the most vulnerable populations in our community.
“Feed the Frontlines has been a lifesaver for West Bergen Mental Health. Our group home residents suffer from chronic mental illness and are truly among the most vulnerable in our community. Keeping them safe and healthy has been a tremendous challenge for our Residential staff, and it has required that the team keep residents isolated. Food shopping and preparation have been a struggle, so having healthy, nutritious restaurant meals delivered directly to each home not only helped keep residents and staff stay safe, but it was also something that they looked forward to. We could not be more grateful,” CEO of West Bergen Mental Health, Michael Tozzoli.
WHEN: Monday, January 24, 2022 from 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
WHERE: Restaurant Pick-Up Location: Puzo’s Italian Family Restaurant, 16 W Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood; Drop-Off Location: West Bergen Mental Healthcare, 234 Broad Street, Ridgewood
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips, 40th District, more details; Michael Tozzoli, CEO, West Bergen Mental Health; Owner, Puzo’s Restaurant; Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, Founder/Director, HealthBarn Foundation; Scott Lief, Board Member, Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce and co-founder, Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need.
CONTACT: Caitlin Rulli, RD, HealthBarn Foundation, 201-444-2955, [email protected]
Background: Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need raised $100,000 from the public in Spring 2020 for the HealthBarn Foundation to purchase ready-to-eat meals from local restaurants organized by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce. The meals were transported by resident volunteers to hospital frontline workers, emergency service personnel and food insecure neighbors during the height of the pandemic. This initial program qualified the HealthBarn Foundation to apply and secure NJEDA’s Sustain and Serve Phase 1 Grant for $1M for 100,000 meals in February 2021 successfully concluding in June 2021. In August 2021, NJEDA granted $2M for 200,000 for phase 2 funding to conclude early the first quarter of 2022.
HealthBarn Foundation is a New Jersey non-profit corporation and a federally recognized 501c3 public charity with a mission to gift families with ill children and seniors with healthy food through access and in conjunction with nutrition education. There are currently four initiatives that are being funded with generous support from the public including: Healing Meals, Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need, Garden-to-Table Scholarships and School Nutrition Education. Email [email protected] or call 201-444-2955 for more information.