NJ Nonprofits Can Get $ 1 Million Dining Grants
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has opened applications for Phase 2 of its “Sustain and Serve NJ” funding, which provides eligible organizations with grants ranging from $ 100,000 to $ 2 million to support the purchase of meals in local communities. Garden State restaurants.
NJEDA Executive Vice President for Special Projects Tara Colton said the program was first announced by Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2020. As of February 2021, the program has awarded more than $ 14 million grants to 28 state organizations.
These organizations use the funds provided to wholesale meals at restaurants and then distribute them for free to members of their local communities, she said.
Beneficiaries include homeless shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals and community organizations who collectively are all on track to purchase more than 1.5 million meals at 340 New Jersey restaurants, all of which are small businesses in the state.
Colton said, according to Governor Murphy, that this is a “win-win-win situation”. Restaurants, especially during a very harsh winter, were able to have a constant flow of business, keep their doors open and workers employed. Fresh, home-cooked meals were delivered to tens of thousands of New Jerseyans who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to have a good meal that day.
During Phase 2, Colton said $ 10 million would be awarded, bringing the total number of Phases 1 and 2 to $ 24 million. She added that that $ 10 million will most likely lead to the purchase of another million meals. Between the two phases, it is estimated that 2.5 million meals will be purchased in less than a year.
Restaurants are not directly eligible for the “Sustain and Serve NJ” program. But organizations need to demonstrate that they are used to doing this kind of work – buying wholesale meals in restaurants. Thus, between March 9, 2020 and June 28, 2021, they must demonstrate that organizations have purchased at least 3,000 meals worth $ 50,000 in New Jersey restaurants.
Additionally, organizations must have at least one approved restaurant to participate in their meal purchases. Colton said some recipients prefer to work with just a few restaurants and others work with dozens. It really is their preference.
Colton said she was so moved by all the stories of Phase 1 recipients who received restaurant meals. Not only were they provided with nutritious food, but the program offered them a level of dignity that they may not have had a hot meal for a number of weeks or months. He literally allowed families to break bread together around the table.
She added that restaurants thought it was a vital lifeline for them as this program has helped them keep their business going during what they hope will be a once in a lifetime experience.
It’s wonderful to hear the human impact, the relationships that have been established, the trust that has been established, and the connections within community organizations, restaurants and social service providers that may not have worked together before, Colton said.
“The governor always says it’s a win-win. He would probably throw a few more wins in there. It hits so many cylinders,” Colton said.
She’s just thrilled to build on that and to take this program a step further to do more. Colton pointed out that this is a fairly straightforward program design that has achieved so many amazing results so far.
Applications are open from June 28, 2021 to July 18, 2021. It is available at https: ///business.nj.gov or at www.njeda.com
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