EO continues to offer COVID-19 emergency food relief

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As New Jersey heads into the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of East Orange, under the leadership of Mayor Ted Green and the East Orange City Council, continues to offer weekly emergency food relief to help more than 12,000 families affected by the coronavirus. 

“We have worked expeditiously to make sure that all families in East Orange have access to food during COVID-19. Our employees and volunteers have gone above and beyond to facilitate food distribution throughout the city while adhering to the required health and safety guidelines,” Green said. “So many generous organizations — both inside and outside of our city — have also contributed to this effort through food giveaways, food pantries and deliveries. During these difficult times, I am proud we have been able to collaborate and help the most vulnerable among us. We truly are one city, one community, and our goal is to get through this together.” 

Distribution events are held weekly at the following sites:

  • Grab-and-go hot and cold lunches at the Fellowship Civic Center, 1 Fellowship Circle, Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Grab-and-go hot and cold lunches at the Office of Emergency Management, 402 Springdale Ave., Wednesdays starting at 12:30 p.m.
  • Emergency food relief packages at East Orange Senior Center, 90 Halsted St., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9 a.m.

Residents of all ages are welcome to drive through or walk up to the distribution sites, which provide food on a first-come, first-served basis. Social distance guidelines are strictly adhered to, and employees and volunteers wear face coverings while sorting, packing and distributing.

In addition to grants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, which funds 8,000 meals weekly, donations from key partners help the East Orange Senior Center distribute many food packages, which include fresh produce and nonperishable items, meats, fresh dairy boxes, bread and pastries.

Rita Butts, manager of the Division of Senior Services, said the division’s partnership with the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges connected the city with additional sponsors, including Community FoodBank of New Jersey, The Common Market and Derstine’s Food Distributors.

“We are helping to end hunger, and this is a humbling experience,” Butts said. “Through these new connections alone, we’ve been able to provide over 6,000 meals every week to those in need.” 

The sponsorships are a collaborative effort that is coordinated in conjunction with Green; the East Orange City Council; the Division of Senior Services under the Department of Health and Human Services; the departments of Public Works, Public Safety, and Recreation and Cultural Affairs; the offices of Emergency Management and Public Information; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office; Iota Phi Theta Fraternity; and community volunteers.

If you are a senior or are disabled and need groceries delivered, call 973-266-8832.

Photos Courtesy of Connie Jackson