The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced Thursday, February 25, that it anticipates awarding $14 million in grants to 27 organizations through its Sustain & Serve NJ program. The NJEDA launched applications for Sustain & Serve NJ in late 2020 to support restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJEDA expects that the recently announced funding will result in the purchase of 1.5 million meals from at least 160 New Jersey restaurants in at least 69 cities in 12 counties.

“New Jersey’s restaurants were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outpouring of interest in Sustain & Serve NJ underscores the community’s desire to help local restaurants and the neighborhoods they serve,” Governor Phil Murphy said. “The positive economic impact of this program for the restaurant industry, combined with the good it will do in the community, makes Sustain & Serve NJ a home run.”

Through Sustain & Serve NJ, the NJEDA anticipates providing $14 million in grant funding to entities throughout the Garden State to support expenses directly tied to bulk purchasing of meals from New Jersey-based restaurants. Each awardee will receive a grant of between $100,000 and $2 million to fund these purchases. The entities will then distribute the meals at no cost.

The NJEDA announced Sustain & Serve NJ in December as a $2 million pilot program. However, due to the enormous interest from organizations and restaurants throughout the state, NJEDA anticipates dedicating an additional $12.4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act monies to fund all eligible applications.

“New Jersey’s restaurants are paramount to our state’s economy and Governor Murphy has made bolstering this industry a focal point of our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The tremendous response to our Sustain & Serve NJ program showcases the eagerness from organizations statewide to support local establishments within their communities.”

The NJEDA is completing reviews of additional applicants and may provide additional awards in the near future.

Reaction to the program from around the state has been overwhelmingly positive.

SoupKitchen411, a non-profit founded in 2015 to raise awareness about the epidemic of hunger, launched its FeedNJ initiative in April 2020 to eradicate hunger and stimulate local economies by purchasing restaurant-prepared meals to be donated to local soup kitchens. To date, the initiative has served more than 35,000 meals to people in 11 counties throughout New Jersey.

“COVID-19 brought about unprecedented challenges to the restaurant industry and at the same time put unmatched strains on local soup kitchens that partner with SoupKitchen411 as they work to keep up with demand,” said Ken DeRoberts, SoupKitchen411 Chairman and Co-Founder. “No man, woman or child should go to bed hungry and we are working with our partners around New Jersey to abolish food insecurity. We are grateful to the NJEDA for this innovative program and are heartened that hundreds of thousands of New Jersey-restaurant-prepared meals will be distributed to people in need as a result of this Sustain and Serve grant.”

Our Community Dinner Table is a food crisis relief organization based in Palisades Park that was established in the wake of COVID-19 to provide well-rounded meals to the community while also supporting local restaurants. The organization has focused on purchasing meals from restaurants that rely on sit-down customers and/or catering events.

“The economic downfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted families and local businesses all across the country, and neighborhoods in northern New Jersey are certainly not immune from this devastation,” said Our Community Dinner Table Founder Samuel Chong. “The Sustain & Serve NJ program will allow us to simultaneously broaden our reach while continuing to support restaurants in our area that are reflective of the diversity of our community.”

The AtlantiCare Foundation was founded in 1977 to generate significant charitable support to ensure AtlantiCare’s vision of building healthy communities within southeastern New Jersey. AtlantiCare is based in Atlantic City.

“The concept of Sustain and Serve NJ and its ability for organizations like ours to impact our local community while purchasing meals from local restaurants is brilliant. It aligns perfectly with our mission,” said AtlantiCare Foundation Executive Director Samantha Kiley. “This program is a wonderful way for our organization to give back to local establishments that so generously supported our frontline teams throughout the pandemic. It also addresses the broad economic impact COVID has had on our community.”

Comprehensive information about New Jersey’s coronavirus response is available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.

Full list of participating organizations:

Organization

Headquarters

Participating Restaurant'(s) Location(s) Municipality(ies)

Participating Restaurant'(s) Location(s) County(ies)

Toms River

Farmingdale Borough, Lakehurst Borough, Manahawkin, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Toms River

Monmouth, Ocean

Hightstown

Belford, Belleville, Brick Camden, East Brunswick, Elizabeth, Englewood, Englishtown, Hamilton, Hightstown, Hoboken, Lawrenceville, Metuchen, Montclair, Morristown, New Brunswick, Newark, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Perth Amboy, Pine Brook, Princeton, Princeton Junction, Red Bank, Rockaway, Tinton Falls, Toms River

Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Union

Asbury Park

Asbury Park

Monmouth

Egg Harbor

Egg Harbor, Galloway, Ventnor

Atlantic

Pine Beach

Manasquan, Toms River

Monmouth, Ocean

Jersey City

Jersey City

Hudson

Jersey City

Multiple

Essex

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Union

Cranford

Cranford, West Orange

Essex, Union

Neptune

Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Brick, Holmdel Long Branch, Manasquan, Neptune, New Brunswick, Ocean, Red Bank, Spring Lake, Toms River

Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean

Chatham

Chatham, Florham Park, Green Village, Madison

Morris

Short Hills

Millburn

Essex

HealthBarn Foundation

Ridgewood

Ridgewood, Village

Bergen

Holy Name Medical Center Foundation

Teaneck

Teaneck
Washington Township

Bergen

 

Livingston

Livingston

Essex

Ewing

Ewing, Lawrenceville

Mercer

Morristown

Morristown, Verona

Essex, Morris

Newark

Newark

Essex

Cape May

West Cape May

Cape May

South Hackensack

Fort Lee, Palisades Park

Bergen

Trenton

Ewing, Trenton

Mercer

Princeton

Princeton

Mercer

Montclair

Caldwell, Monclair

Essex

Trenton

East Windsor, Hamilton

Mercer

The Cliffside Park Hall of Fame Foundation

Cliffside Park

Cliffside Park, Hillsdale, River Vale, South Hackensack

Bergen

Newark

Belleville, Newark, Rutherford

Bergen, Essex

Summit

Summit

Union