Ken Ortiz, head of Perth Amboy Human Services said today in an address to the City that food pantries in Perth Amboy have been serving thousands and need extra support. Mayor Diaz confirmed that families are in dire need of help. Over 1 million families in NJ have filed for unemployment and many checks have been delayed making it difficult for families to afford food. Many families in Perth Amboy live paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, food prices have recently increased and people were told to shop for 2 weeks worth of food to minimize interaction at the store and to prepare if you become sick. With the stay at home order, families are also eating more meals at home and children are not eating their meals in school. In response, Perth Amboy Schools have done a good job of supplying bagged meals to children distributed throughout the City. But lines are still long at the 6 food pantries in Perth Amboy.
The City of Perth Amboy has launched a Call to Action Food Drive to help those affected by the pandemic. They will accept food donations to supplement the 6 food pantries operating in Perth Amboy. They are accepting donations of food including water, juice, snacks, beans, veggies, pasta, rice, fruits, canned goods, milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, oatmeal, oil and condiments. The drop off is at the Jankowski Center at 1 Olive St. weekdays 10am-3pm and Saturday’s 10am-1pm. For more info you can contact 732-826-1690 ex 4305.
The Food Pantries/Soup Kitchens in Perth Amboy are the Salvation Army at 433 State St by appointment only Monday and Thursday 732-826-7040, St Peter’s Episcopal Church Peter’s Pantry, 183 Rector St, 732-742-3205 open Thursdays 10am-noon, Mercy House Food Pantry 282 McClellan St by appointment only Monday- Friday 9:30-1pm 732-826-0447, Our Lady of Fatima Bread for Life Food Pantry 380 Smith St 732-442-6634 open the third Wednesday of the month from 2:30pm-6:30pm and the following Saturday from 1-4pm, St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry 230 New Brunswick Ave 732-548-4314 open Saturdays 9:45am-12:45pm and Iglesia Ciudad de Refugio 436 Market St, 732-826-0058 Saturdays at 11am.
The City of Perth Amboy has also partnered with the nonprofit CPA COVID -10 Help. The nonprofit was formed by Barry Rosengarten of the Celebrate Our Stars & Stripes Fireworks committee after they canceled the annual fireworks event in Perth Amboy. Instead of fireworks they are asking their donors to help raise $100,000 to purchase food and essential household items for the many families in Perth Amboy who are facing severe food shortage and are without money for basic necessities. Mr. Rosengarten said, “People are in dire straits, and they need our help, now! We are counting on your generous contributions. Your rapid response will make a difference for families that are going hungry, getting by on just one or two meals a day.”
Additionally, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez from Perth Amboy has partnered with FeedNJ to provide hundreds of meals to Perth Amboy residents during COVID-19 outbreak.
FeedNJ, a campaign being run by local non-profit Soup Kitchen 411, kicked-off in mid-April in response to the increased demand at local soup kitchens around the state. The goal of the campaign is not only to provide food to local soup kitchens in a time of increased need, but also to help support local restaurants, many of whom are facing long-term economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Assemblywoman Lopez’ running mate, Speaker Craig Coughlin, serves as a Co-Chair for the FeedNJ Campaign.
“The unique design of FeedNJ allows the organization to not only help distribute food to residents in need but also provides crucial business to restaurants that are experiencing hardship due to COVID19,” said Assemblywoman Lopez.”It was important to me to identify restaurants in my hometown that could help in this endeavor to support nonprofits that are acting as safety nets throughout the pandemic.”
“I want to thank Assemblywoman Lopez for being such an instrumental partner in this campaign,” said Speaker Coughlin. “When we look around the state, we know Perth Amboy is one of the communities that has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Assemblywoman Lopez and FeedNJ identified Torres Café, Mena International and Hatch 44 to provide meals, while the Salvation Army, Hogar Crea and Renovation House have been the nonprofits who have partnered with FeedNJ thus far.
Since the start of this partnership, over 520 meals have been provided and another 1,210 meals are scheduled.
Harry Pozycki, a long-time Perth Amboy resident and founder/current chairman of the Citizens Campaign has stepped in to help fund the program’s operations in Perth Amboy.
“I and my family are thankful for the Feed NJ program, said Harry Pozycki, Esq. This program is helping not only our residents but also supporting our local restaurants. We are honored to play a small part of this effort.”
“We need to find creative ways to support vulnerable residents and our small business community and FeedNJ does both,” said Assemblywoman Lopez.
Building on the success of FeedNJ in Perth Amboy, Assemblywoman Lopez hopes to continue seeking donations to ensure no Perth Amboy resident goes hungry.
Perth Amboy has been one of the hardest hit places in the nation by coronavirus. According to Discover Middlesex website, Perth Amboy has had 2,061 positives cases and 106 deaths reported. Many families lived pay check to pay check before the pandemic and the loss of income from the state shut down or from becoming sick with the virus has had a serious impact. 17% of the predominately Latino population is below the poverty level, about 12,000 people.