Fighting hunger in Bayonne

As Hunger Free Bayonne goes countywide, the city will take up the slack

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Fighting hunger in Bayonne
A box of food to be delivered to a resident. Photo courtesy Bayonne Food Bank.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Bayonne has been working to help get food to residents in need.

During the stay-at-home order, many residents were afraid or unable to leave their homes, especially the elderly. For some residents, groceries became too expensive after furloughs, layoffs, and closures.

To help, the city established a food bank, reallocated Community Development Block Grant funds for a senior food delivery service, and now plans on picking up the work of Hunger Free Bayonne.

The Bayonne City Council met on June 17 at 7 p.m. via TetherView. City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski announced that the City of Bayonne would be expanding its food services to accommodate residents in need.

Hunger Free across the county

Hunger Free Bayonne, in conjunction with the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Fund, was created by Stephanie Glover Wilson to serve the citizens of Bayonne.

Hunger Free Bayonne would distribute food practically every Saturday at the 16th Street Park to residents until supplies were gone. This was an essential service to many residents throughout the pandemic.

Due to its success, Hunger Free Bayonne is expanding, and the city is looking to pick up the slack.

“We can’t put a number on it, but it has been a wonderful four years,” according to Hunger Free Bayonne. “Now we are growing and rebranding, so we can serve the whole of Hudson County.”

Hunger Free Bayonne will change its name and serve residents outside the city as well. However, there will still be events in Bayonne, Hunger Free Bayonne’s farewell message said.

“Thank you everyone. Bayonne will always be our first love,” according to Hunger Free Bayonne. “We will never turn our back on our city.”

Ashe-Nadrowski said that while Hunger Free Bayonne was expanding the program to other communities, the city is looking to maintain the program under Bayonne for Bayonne in addition to the new countywide iteration of Hunger Free Bayonne.

High demand for food assistance

Previously, Ashe-Nadrowski said that people who never needed food assistance before, people who are most at-risk for the virus, people who have lost their jobs but still await their unemployment checks, and other residents are desperately seeking food assistance from the city.

“Help is available,” she said.

According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the city created Bayonne for Bayonne as a nonprofit that helps subsidize initiatives like Hunger Free Bayonne and others to support local residents.

Anyone in need of food assistance should call the office of the City Council President at 201-858-6520 or sign up on the BEOF website at beof.org.

“If you know someone who is too proud to admit they need help, you can sign them up,” Ashe-Nadrowski said.

Ashe-Nadrowski also advised residents to check Mayor James Davis’s social media pages for information regarding locations for food distributions.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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