Ridgewood Feed the Frontlines 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 at the height of the pandemic in Spring 2020. 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 in August 2021 to keep its good works going. Feed the Frontlines – Helping Those in Need Phase 2 powered up to economically support local, participating restaurants and feed our most vulnerable neighbors through March 31, 2022 with an eye on NJEDA’s Phase 3 award.
HealthBarn Foundation was initially notified on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 that that NJEDA is awarding them with another grant for approximately $1M to get the Feed the Frontlines team back in action starting September 19, 2022 through January 31, 2023. For the latest press coverage, click here.
How does it work? HealthBarn Foundation in collaboration with the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce purchases ready-to-eat, nutritious meals from 20 NJEDA approved restaurants weekly. The meals are delivered by a fleet of 400 volunteer drivers to 29 food pantries and organizations in Bergen County. The volunteer drivers pick-up hot meals every day, seven days a week to deliver to food pantries in partnership with the Bergen County Food Security Task Force since the program began in February 2021.
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. At this time, our volunteer driver sign-up link is suspended until Phase 3 goes into effect, so please check back.
Looking to volunteer? We rely on volunteer drivers to pick up hot, nutritious meals from Ridgewood restaurants from the central business district and Westside and deliver them to food pantries and organizations throughout Bergen County. The handling of meals is contactless and requires about 1.5 hours of your time. Click here to sign up to Be a Hero by driving to help others.