As many at-risk residents struggle to buy groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Bayonne has stepped in to help.
Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable, at risk of contracting and facing serious complications from the virus. 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 of grocery shopping.
Local soup kitchens have closed due to public health concerns from the virus, including the Bayonne Soup Kitchen at Blessed Miriam Teresa Parish.
Bayonne has responded to the growing problem with the establishment of a community-wide food bank. Now the city looks to further define the food bank’s services and bring much-needed groceries directly to residents in need.
Food delivery service for seniors
Last week on May 7, a special public hearing was held for the city council to approve an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan for 2020 to fund the food bank efforts.
The 2019 Annual Action Plan award represented $1,533,452 CDBG funds. This amendment intends to reallocate CDBG funds from the program to create a food delivery service as part of the new food bank.
Currently, the Bayonne Food Bank has been distributing food at the Bayonne Museum on Broadway, on sporadic dates announced by Mayor James Davis beforehand on social media. Ashe-Nadrowski said the food bank has been a result of a collaborative effort with new Business Administrator Melissa Mathews.
According to the amended CDBG plan, this funding will be used to respond to community needs due to the COVID-19 crisis.
It will be used to purchase and provide food assistance for senior citizens who are unable to purchase and carry the amount of food needed to shelter in place safely. The program aims to provide prepared meals to other residents who don’t have enough to eat and can’t stand in long lines at the grocery store to make their purchases.
From pharmacy to doorstep
This funding will also be used to provide a delivery service to seniors who cannot get their medications from the pharmacies, according to a statement by the city.
These temporary work projects will hire individuals who are currently unemployed. They will pay a stipend of $50 per delivery with a limit of 10 deliveries per day, per person.
This amendment was made available to the public for review and comment for five days from May 7 through May 11 per the Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements via the city’s website.
Questions regarding this plan as well as requests for special assistance due to limited English proficiency or disabilities should be directed to Samantha Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who need food assistance or wish to volunteer or donate can do so at the Bayonne for Bayonne COVID Relief page on the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation website at beof.org.
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