Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that Newark Working Kitchens, a free meal delivery service for Newark residents designed to create and sustain jobs while supporting those most critically in need of food, has delivered more than 200,000 meals during its first 12 weeks of operations. NWK meals are prepared by participating local restaurants and delivered to low-income senior, disabled and family housing residents, people without homes and other vulnerable Newarkers. NWK operations have sustained more than 200 jobs during the pandemic. Each NWK restaurant – many of which have relaunched operations and rehired staff – provides 200 meals per day (five days a week). Meals are delivered to nearly 10,000 city residents in 40 locations. Newark Working Kitchens has commenced a fund-raising campaign to deliver 1 million meals and engage small businesses beyond the current crisis while continuing to serve those with critical food needs.
In collaboration with Newark Venture Partners and Invest Newark, NWK also co-launched the Newark Small Business Guidance Program in April and has already provided free business consultation to 92 small businesses. The program is deploying attorneys, financial experts and other professionals to assist restaurants participating in NWK and Newark-based and Black-owned small businesses in navigating the business impact of the COVID-19 crisis and obtaining Federal, State and local relief funding.
The City of Newark’s $500K grant increases public, private and philanthropic support provided to date by Audible, PSEG, TD Bank, New Jersey Devils Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Fidelco Realty Group and Thrive Global. Newark Working Kitchens is actively seeking additional donors to invest in this powerful new impact model and fund meals through the upcoming months.
“Newark Working Kitchens will be able to deliver tens of thousands of meals in the coming weeks while supporting Newark’s talented array of small business entrepreneurs heavily impacted by the events of 2020,” said Mayor Baraka. “Our local restaurants have been very hard hit, and funding NWK allows restaurant employees to return to work and cook for Newark residents in urgent need.”
“Newark Working Kitchens has proven out a model that can be deployed to many sectors of an economy unequally impacted by COVID-related shocks,” said Don Katz, Audible founder and executive chairman. “The commercial food economy in Newark is composed of a rich tapestry of small restaurants and food service companies that employ many people who need support as we face this historic crisis. Audible is proud to join Mayor Baraka, corporate investors and visionary philanthropists in supporting NWK and we look forward to welcoming many others to our team.”
“We are proud to be uniting forces so that NWK can be a major food hub for our Newark community,” said Marcus Samuelsson, chef/owner of Marcus B&P and owner of the Marcus Samuelsson Group. “Newark Working Kitchens (NWK) harnesses the full power of our abilities to combat food insecurity during this extraordinary time of need.”
“By helping residents in need, when our friends and family members are indeed members of this population, we have gained a new sense of purpose,” said Kai Campbell, owner of Veggie Walla. “It is the underbelly of poverty that is being exacerbated in these trying times, and we are just thankful to be doing our part to help our city in the fight back. None of it would have been possible without the help, support, guidance, and initiative undertaken by Newark Working Kitchens and all of those involved.”
Current participating NWK restaurants, many of which are part of Audible’s Lunch Out Wednesday program, include: The Halal Guys, Robert’s Pizza, La Cocina, Kilkenny Alehouse, Mercato Tomato Pie/ Novelty Burger, Sigri Indian BBQ, Fresh Coast, Barcade, Veggie Walla, Marcus B&P, O’LaLa Empanadas, Harvest Table, Bulgogi Zip, Pita Square, Nizi Sushi, McGovern’s Tavern, Uncle Willie’s Wings, Masala Café, Andros Diner, Blueprint Café, King's Restaurant, Panzz Seafood & Wings, and City Rub Smokehouse. Many of the restaurants NWK will support in the coming weeks as funding efforts evolve include some of Newark’s most treasured Black-owned small businesses.
NWK works closely with the City of Newark to determine where meal delivery is needed most and collaborates distribution with tenants associations and a growing list of community organizations including Ironbound Community Corporation, Bridges Outreach, Newark Emergency Services for Families, Newark Public Schools, University Hospital, Palm Street Block Association, Newark Homeless Coalition, NJCRI/Crossroads Drop-in Center, Tree House Cares, Willing Heart Community Care Center, Clinton Hill Community Action and the YMCA. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or donate here.
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