The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced plans to award grants totaling $17.5 million to 30 nonprofit organizations through Phase 3 of its successful Sustain & Serve NJ program. Sustain & Serve NJ provides eligible entities with grants to support the purchase of meals from New Jersey restaurants that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the distribution of those meals at no cost to recipients. The additional $17.5 million in awards announced today brings total program funding to $52.5 million.
Sustain & Serve NJ launched during the pandemic as a $2 million pilot program to boost restaurants impacted by COVID and has grown into an over $50 million program that continues to bring much-needed food to people across New Jersey. Since February 2021, Sustain & Serve NJ has already supported the purchase of more than 3.5 million meals from over 400 restaurants in all 21 counties with grants totaling $35 million.
Phase 3 of Sustain & Serve NJ is funded by $10 million allocated by Governor Phil Murphy from the federal American Rescue Plan and approximately $7.5 million in State funding. Funding from this latest phase is expected to support the purchase of an additional 1.5 million meals.
“Sustain & Serve NJ has become a national model for addressing food insecurity, supporting small businesses that are the heartbeat of our downtowns, and providing funding to the nonprofit entities that deliver vital services,” said Acting Governor Sheila Y. Oliver. “Combatting hunger remains a top priority and it is more critical than ever that nonprofits have the resources they need to feed the people within their communities.”
“Throughout the pandemic, Governor Murphy has challenged us to employ innovative methods for supporting businesses, nonprofits, and New Jerseyans in need and Sustain & Serve NJ has been a tremendous asset in helping us meet that goal,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We have an obligation to aid our fellow New Jerseyans who face food insecurity every single day. Nonprofit organizations and restaurants are critical allies in that mission and supporting them is an important part of our commitment to eradicating hunger, creating jobs, and fueling the economic growth and security of our state.”
Sullivan noted that Sustain & Serve NJ is a key part of the NJEDA’s efforts to strengthen the economic security of all New Jerseyans. The Authority is putting forth a multi-pronged strategy to eliminate food deserts within the state and to bolster the child care sector, an industry whose critical importance was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJEDA is also working with partners statewide to create a Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton as part of First Lady Tammy Murphy’s Nurture NJ initiative to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to give birth in the country.
“Real economic prosperity can only be achieved when everyone’s needs are being addressed, including the most basic need for food security,” said NJEDA’s Executive Vice President of Economic Security Tara Colton. “Sustain & Serve NJ grantees are extraordinary nonprofit organizations who are committed to feeding their neighbors and supporting their communities with respect and dignity.”