Newark Working Kitchens (NWK), a COVID-19 response that activates Newark’s restaurants to deliver nutritious meals to low-income seniors and families, today announced it is being awarded $2 million from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Newark Working Kitchens recently surpassed 750,000 meals delivered to residents in need since the program’s inception in April 2020. NWK has helped more than two dozen restaurants relaunch services and rehire staff, sustaining hundreds of jobs.
Awarded through NJEDA’s Sustain and Serve NJ Program, funding will go directly towards helping NWK participating restaurants continue to deliver nutritious meals to local residents in need. Since its launch, NWK has delivered meals to more than 10,000 residents across 70 locations. All meals are prepared by NWK’s 30 participating restaurants, more than half of which are minority-and woman-owned establishments. Demonstrating the program’s scalable model, NWK is expanding to six new restaurants across Newark.
As Newark’s economy continues its path to recovery from COVID-19, thousands of senior, low-income and disabled housing residents and people without homes are still struggling to access consistent healthy meals during the pandemic. NWK has been actively fundraising to provide safe and consistent access to food for these communities, while providing a vital lifeline for Newark’s most cherished local restaurants. This announcement represents a major milestone in NWK’s progress towards its initial goal of one million meals served.
“Newark Working Kitchens continues to prove itself as a vital response model for aiding the Newark communities most affected by COVID-19,” said Don Katz, Audible founder and executive chairman. “New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority’s generous support will help Newark Working Kitchens expand its impactful reach to communities across the state. I’m calling on donors of all sizes to support this initiative, which has provided thousands of meals to our neighbors while helping local restaurants stay open and retain jobs.”
"Small businesses are the backbone of Newark’s economy and we’re grateful for the resilience and ingenuity of Newark Working Kitchens (NWK) as it continues to raise funding to employ local Newarkers, help reopen our restaurants and take care of our neighbors during these trying times,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
“The hot meals we receive from Newark Working Kitchens are a lifeline for many of the families we serve,” said Carrie Puglisi, Director of Program and Fund Development at La Casa de Don Pedro. “Many have lost loved ones or have faced a significant reduction in income due to job loss. Other families find themselves with more mouths to feed because they now support friends or relatives living with them. We are grateful to NWK for their creative food distribution strategy that supports both Newark restaurant owners hurting from the pandemic and families struggling with food insecurity."
In September of 2020, Audible launched its Global Center for Urban Development to expand the company’s community and economic investment. The Center will bring together Audible’s numerous initiatives, including NWK and Audible’s collaboration with the internationally heralded early-stage social impact investment fund Newark Venture Partners (NVP).
As with NWK and NVP, the Center will work closely with the City of Newark, which guides NWK to determine where meal delivery is needed most and collaborate on distribution with tenants associations and a growing list of community organizations including Ironbound Community Corporation, Bridges Outreach, Newark Emergency Services for Families, La Casa de Don Pedro, Palm Street Block Association, NJCRI/Crossroads Drop-in Center, Tree House Cares, Willing Heart Community Care Center and the Newark YMCA. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or donate here.
Current participating NWK restaurants include: Andros Restaurant & Diner, Barcade, Black Swan Espresso, Blueprint Café, Bulgogi Zip, CityRub 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 Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Nizi Sushi, O’LaLa Empanadas, Panzz Seafood & Wings, Pita Square, Robert’s Pizza, Sigri Indian BBQ, Taino’s Kitchen, The Green Chicpea, The Halal Guys, The Walla, The Weekend Spot, Uncle Willie’s Wings and Vonda’s Kitchen.