Newark Working Kitchens, a COVID-19 response that kept Newark restaurant employees working while delivering meals to low-income seniors and families, delivered its 1 millionth meal on June 10.
NWK’s 30 participating restaurants have reached more than 10,000 residents over the past 14 months.
“This milestone is a testament to the amazing restaurant owners and workers, city and state leadership and operational partners who have worked tirelessly to make a significant positive impact on Newark’s restaurant ecosystem and community members without enough food,” said Don Katz, Audible founder and executive chairman, in a prepared statement. “Our restaurants and communities still need us, so we welcome donors at all giving levels to support NWK and urge private sector decision-makers and government officials in other cities to consider how programs like these can sustain jobs, businesses and lives in their own communities.”
NWK was launched by Audible in April 2020, and its efforts were amplified by a $2 million grant it received through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Sustain and Serve NJ program.
“The pandemic put a strain on our restaurant, but an even bigger strain on our community — many of whom were already dealing with food insecurity and job loss,” said Josh Miller, co-owner of NWK participating restaurants Robert’s pizza and La Cocina, in a prepared statement. “Through Newark Working Kitchens, I’ve been able to keep close to 20 staff employed and our community fed. It’s been an honor to be a part of NWK over the past year and to contribute towards reaching this feat of 1 million meals served.”
The City of Newark also granted NWK $500,000, and donors include PSEG, TD Bank, the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, New Jersey Devils Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. Local businesses, organizations, and individuals also pitched in.
“Last March, our shelves were bare and the lines were around the block. We had never seen a level of need like this before and then Newark Working Kitchens arrived to save the day. Each and every NWK delivery has had a tremendous impact on our community,” said Amina Bey, executive director of Newark Emergency Services for Families, in a prepared statement. “These meals have been a steady presence for recipients in a time of great uncertainty and a lifeline to the restaurants they support.”
Current participating Newark Working Kitchens restaurants include: Andros Restaurant & Diner, Barcade, Black Swan, Blueprint Café, Bulgogi Zip, Chicpea, City Rub Smokehouse, Cornbread, Fresh Coast, Harvest Table, Kilkenny Alehouse, King’s Family Restaurant & Catering, King’s #1 Family Restaurant, La Cocina, Marcus B&P, McGovern’s Tavern, Mercato Tomato Pie/Novelty Burger, Mompou/Spanish Tavern, Nizi Sushi, O’LaLa Empanadas, Panzz Seafood & Wings, Pita Square, Robert’s Pizza, Sigri Indian BBQ, Taino’s, The Halal Guys, Uncle Willie’s Wings, Veggie Walla and the Weekend Spot.