Massive Food Giveaway In Newark Feeds 23,000 People

The coronavirus pandemic has created a tremendous need in Newark. But it's also inspired an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, some say.

By Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff | Sep 14, 2020 5:46 pm ET | Updated Sep 15, 2020 11:22 pm ET

[NEWARK, NJ] The coronavirus pandemic has created a tremendous need in Newark. But it's also inspired an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, some say.

Recently, United Community Corporation, Roosevelt Community 4U and Bessie Green Community Inc. pulled together to serve more than 23,000 people as part of a massive food distribution event in the Brick City.

Over three hours, thousands lined up at Barringer High School to get a much-needed care package of food and drinks. In all, 3,978 cars and 1,251 walk-in clients were served during the event, with family sizes averaging between four and five people.

It was a touching display of camaraderie between the community, with more than 270 volunteers and over 20 Essex County groups pitching in for the effort, including North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr., the Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association, the Newark Public School District and The Allen Village CDC.

The event also saw support from the Newark Police Department, the Newark Essex County Constable, the Essex County Sheriff's Office and the Newark Fire Department.

"The pandemic has created a tremendous need in our city, as well as an unprecedented spirit of cooperation," Ramos said. "So many organizations participated in this event to make it a success."

"This is a great example of a community coming together to help those in need," Ramos added.

"In these days we see how collaboration between the leaders of different communities to support the people that are in need can result in bridges between different communities, cultures, and ethnicities," Roosevelt Community 4U founder Rabbi Moshe Hezrony said.

"Witnessing the overwhelming number of volunteers, from various organizations, who gave up their time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, was truly uplifting during this time of unprecedented need," Bessie Green Community Board Secretary Pauline McKeown agreed.

"The number of people served being that high makes me feel good and sad at the same time," United Community Corporation Executive Director Craig Mainor said. "Over 20,000 people served makes me very happy, but it also lets me know that there is so much more that we can do."

Luckily, sometimes a worthy event can open its own doors, Mainor said, pointing out that United Community Corporation got a chance to tell people about their other services, such as a 24-hour emergency shelter, a food pantry that served over 20,000 meals in July and housing/energy assistance.

"We've already gotten calls for our services from people that were waiting in line," Mainor said.

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

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