UNION COUNTY, NJ — The New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced Aug. 24 that an additional $11 million has been allocated to Phase 2 of the Sustain & Serve NJ program, bringing the total for this round of grant funding to $20 million. The NJEDA anticipates awarding grants to 29 organizations statewide through Phase 2 of the program. This funding is expected to support the purchase of 2 million meals from nearly 300 New Jersey restaurants in more than 120 municipalities statewide. Through Phase 1 of the program, during the past five months, the program has supported the purchase of 1.5 million meals from more than 350 restaurants with grants totaling more than $14 million.
“The overwhelming and heartfelt response from organizations stepping up to support their local restaurants and their neighbors truly embodies the Jersey spirit,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Restaurants are an essential part of our economy, and their success is essential to our state’s recovery from the pandemic. Having so many entities leverage Sustain and Serve NJ funds to not only inject cash into restaurants but also partner with those restaurants to feed members of their community is an absolute grand slam.”
With Phase 2 of Sustain & Serve NJ, the NJEDA will provide $20 million in grant funding to entities throughout the state to support expenses directly tied to bulk purchasing of meals from New Jersey–based restaurants. Each awardee will receive a grant of between $100,000 and $2 million to fund these purchases. The entities will then distribute the meals at no cost to the recipients of the meals.
Newark-based Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens in April 2020 and has already distributed more than 1 million meals within the community.
“The Sustain & Serve NJ Program has made a measurable impact on Newark’s local restaurants and residents most in need of support,” said Don Katz, Audible founder and executive chairperson. “The added grant funding announced today will provide more vital support for community members without enough food and independent small businesses, which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic by cooking meals for Newark Working Kitchens.”
Pending the outcome of final reviews, the NJEDA anticipates making awards to the following area entities in Phase 2: Elizabeth Education Association, which serves Elizabeth; Front Line Appreciation Group for Cranford, which serves Cranford and West Orange; Power Changes Lives, which serves Elizabeth and Morristown; Soup Kitchen 411, which serves, among many other locations statewide, Cranford, Elizabeth, Roselle, Scotch Plains, Summit and Westfield; and the Summit Foundation, which serves Summit.