With many laid off or furloughed workers struggling to put food on the table and front-line health care professionals working long hours, businesses are reaching out to help both groups stay nourished.
WellCare of New Jersey and its parent, Centene Corp., said the companies will coordinate the donation of 1 million meals in New Jersey and elsewhere around the U.S. WellCare also said it had contributed $70,000 to food charities in Bergen, Hudson, Union, Mercer, Middlesex and Camden Counties.
“Food is necessary for growth, development, and healing, but it is often forgotten until times of crises,” said Dr. Anniesha Walker, Executive Director of Mercer Street Friends, in a statement. “The pandemic has presented uncertainty for many – especially for those who face financial instability. We appreciate WellCare’s generous donation, which will lift this burden for many households across New Jersey.”
WellCare also said it donated $100,000 to help the Hope Care & Hospice Association deliver personal protective equipment to 50 institutions and agencies around the state. And the company purchased about $18,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for distribution to vulnerable populations, allowing recipients to buy such necessary products as diapers, over-the-counter medicines and cleaning supplies.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and have extended beyond medical care to affect access to food and essentials, employment, connectivity, and other critical resources across our state,” said John Kirchner WellCare of New Jeresey’s plan president and CEO. “These social determinants of health have a significant impact on overall wellbeing, especially among vulnerable populations, and WellCare of New Jersey wants to ensure we’re supporting the needs of our communities during this challenging time.”
Generic drugmaker Hikma Pharmaceuticals said established an employee donation matching campaign at its facilities in Eatontown and Cherry Hill, along with locations in Ohio. The company said it will match a minimum of $2,500 in employee donations per month at each facility and will contribute a minimum of $100,000 this year. The beneficiaries in New Jersey will be the Cherry Hill Food Pantry and Fulfill, a food bank serving Monmouth and Ocean counties.
“This is just one more way Hikma is bringing better health within reach every day for our customers, patients and the communities in which we live and work,” said Brian Hoffman, president of Hikma Generics, in a statement.
And Blue Foundry Bank said it donated more than 2,000 meals to workers at Valley Hospital, Chilton Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, Pascack Valley Medical Center, Mountainside Medical Center, Clara Maass Medical Center, St. Barnabas Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital and Morristown Medical Center.
The effort also helped nine restaurants that have been hit hard by the pandemic: Wyckoff Deli, Little Food Inn, Clemente Bakery, Flynn’s Deli, Red Eye Café, Michael’s Roscommon House, DelMonico, Positano, and Pomodoro. “My staff and I were delighted to fulfill such a generous order to Mountainside Medical Center, on behalf of Blue Foundry, and know that it was going to the nurses and doctors who are doing so much for so many right in our own community,” said Anthony Brinton, owner of Montclair’s Red Eye Cafe, in a statement.
Being able to provide meals for these essential health care workers as well as bringing business to local food vendors truly represents what we stand for as a company committed to the community,” said Blue Foundry President and CEO James Nesci.
Elsewhere, Secaucus-based IT company ZT Systems donated $500,000 to Englewood Health Foundation’s Power to Prepare Fund. The fund helps Englewood Health provide supplies and support for health care workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
“There are no words that can express our gratitude to Englewood Hospital and their doctors, nurses and other front line workers for their exceptional work and sacrifices battling the COVID-19 pandemic, said ZT Systems Chief Executive Officer Frank Zhang. “We value our relationship with Englewood Health enormously and want to show our continued support to the Englewood Health Foundation.”
In Hudson County, 75 nonprofit organizations will participate in the second annual #HudsonGives campaign on May 14. Run by the Hudson County Chamber Foundation, the event helps participants raise funds and increase awareness of their work.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced nonprofit organizations to cancel spring fundraisers, making this year’s #HudsonGives especially crucial to the sustainability of smaller organizations, who rely on fundraisers to raise operating costs,” said Emory A. Edwards, Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations, Office of Advancement and External Affairs, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Hudson County Chamber Foundation.
The campaign raised more than $127,000 last year and organizers expect the second iteration to bring in more than $20,000. For more information, click here.
This article was updated at 11:30 a.m. EST on May 12, 2020 to correct the amount Hikma Pharmaceuticals will match in employee donations.