Soup Kitchen 411 partners with state PBA, local police depts. to serve free meals

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UNION COUNTY, NJ — Soup kitchens, food pantries, houses of worship, local nonprofits, community outreach groups and municipal health departments have all accepted meals in large quantities from Soup Kitchen 411 to distribute to the community, and now the nonprofit has another distribution partner: the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association.

“Community policing is a bedrock of building safer, stronger communities. Being able to distribute food and share meals with the community beyond events such as Coffee With a Cop and National Night Out Against Crime is a great way to build community trust. We are grateful to FeedNJ for buying hundreds of meals from many local restaurants for our local PBA’s in Deal, Ewing, Elizabeth and Roselle Park, to serve the communities we are honored to serve. These food distribution events with FeedNJ are scheduled through at least the end of July. Our local PBAs are honored to help those who are still hungry in our communities during these very difficult times,” NJ State PBA President Pat Colligan said.

Through its flagship program, FeedNJ, Soup Kitchen 411 has purchased and plans to purchase thousands of meals for the Elizabeth, Ewing, Deal and Roselle Park PBAs, to be served to the community.

“Our program is currently active in more than 50 communities across New Jersey, where we buy local meals in large quantities from small restaurants at retail price to serve in the community, and our partnership with the NJ State PBA enables us to fight hunger while supporting police–community relations,” said FeedNJ Chairperson Kevin O’Toole, who also serves as the chairperson of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey. “Through private corporate partnerships and state grants, we’ve served more than 200,000 nutritious, restaurant-prepared meals across New Jersey, at a cost of over $2,000,000. Our restaurants love it, recipients love it and food distribution partners, including these local police departments, love it.”

“Food brings people together, during good times and bad. I think it’s great that our local police are involved in serving meals to the community, building relationships and looking out for each other,” said Anthony Garofalo, owner of Bella Gina’s in Linden, which provided 200 meals for Roselle Park’s event on Tuesday, July 13. “We made penne vodka dishes with grilled chicken and our homemade spaghetti and meatballs, one of the staples for recurring events with FeedNJ. These large-quantity meal orders allow us to bring back our full pre-COVID-19 staff and offer extra hours to anyone on our staff who wants them, so we’re grateful to FeedNJ.”

Garofalo has owned and managed Bella Gina’s for 18 years. The local staple has delivered meals to FeedNJ events throughout the greater Union County area two to three times a month since April.

“We’re very grateful and excited about our partnership with Soup Kitchen 411 and FeedNJ. Our PBA local is always doing events in our community to help build trust and have our residents get to know us. To be able to make an immediate impact on someone by giving them a meal is very rewarding. It’s a reason why most of us became police officers, to help others,” said Detective Gregory Polakoski of the Roselle Park Police Department.

To learn more about the FeedNJ initiative and volunteer in the fight against hunger, visit soupkitchen411.com/feednj/ and follow @SoupKitchen411 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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