As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses and established social-distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Soup kitchens in Bayonne were forced to close in compliance with the executive order. Those visiting the Bayonne Soup Kitchen at Blessed Miriam Teresa Parish were met with a yellow sign, indicating it was closed.
City officials now want to set up a food bank to cater to the elderly, homeless, or other vulnerable residents who depended on the soup kitchen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected grocery shopping and household food supplies.
Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable, at risk of contracting and facing serious complications from COVID-19. Most seniors and other vulnerable residents are afraid to go to supermarkets, according to Bayonne City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski.
While some Good Samaritan neighbors have been checking on elderly residents and shopping on their behalf, many seniors may be running low on food amid fears about grocery shopping.
According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the City of Bayonne is in the early process of starting a food bank, in conjunction with the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF). The food bank aims to help all residents of the city.
Still in the planning stages
The announcement was made at the April 15 city council meeting, the first to be held online via TetherView during the pandemic.
Ashe-Nadrowski said that approximately $20,000 in funds from the Community Development Block Grants will go toward the creation of the citywide food bank. It will be operated by the BEOF and managed by the city.
At the meeting, Ashe-Nadrowski said that she had personally been working on this project alongside soon-to-be Business Administrator Melissa Mathews. Mathews will assume her new post upon the retirement of Terrence Malloy on May 1.
It’s not clear when the food bank will open and where it will be located.
Residents who need help getting groceries now or residents looking to help should visit beof.org.
The BEOF has been collecting monetary donations for those impacted by COVID-19 under the banner “Bayonne for Bayonne.”
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