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The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine
Monday, April 19 2021 @ 08:05 AM EDT
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The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine
Monday, April 19 2021 @ 08:05 AM EDT
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The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Dinner Project Draws Businesses and Nonprofits Together


to Meet Escalating Food Insecurity in Englewood
(Eastern Bergen County, New Jersey; March 11, 2021) -- Food insecurity rose dramatically in Bergen County, New Jersey, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County continued the work of the founder of World Central Kitchen, Chef Andres' (José Ramón Andrés Puerta), in Englewood and brought together nonprofit agencies and restaurants in the city to create the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Dinner Project to help residents experiencing food insecurity.

            Since the project's launch in December, over 4,000 Englewood residents were serviced.  The project helps residents obtain needed food and restaurants participate in partnership with The Community Chest, Family Promise of Bergen County, Englewood Health, TD Bank Foundation, Age-Friendly Englewood, Tibbs House, Bergen Family Center, Center for Food Action, Women's Rights Information Center, Metro Community Center and the Office of Concern Food Pantry.       

            Local nonprofit and agencies in Englewood are participating in the project.  These nonprofits select the neediest people they service to receive the meals:  Bergen Family Center, Women's Rights Information Center, West Side Infant and Teen Program, Metro Community Center, and Tibbs House, with Tri-Arc Community Development Corporation recently joining the collaboration.

            Area restaurants in the community also benefit.  These Englewood based restaurants are participating in the project: Bartolomeo's, TJ's Southern Gourmet, MaDear's Southern Cuisine, U Pie, and Father and Son just joined the project.

            "The collaboration is a win-win situation.  With the funds raised, restaurants are paid to prepare the dinners for the community's neediest neighbors.  The Community Chest raised funds from individuals, other nonprofits such as Englewood Health and local businesses in the area to compensate the restaurants for the meals they cook.  These restaurants are helping our neighbors at a critical time," explained Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director, The Community Chest.

            "This has benefitted us tremendously.  It has given us more exposure and it reached out to the community, where our name was put out a lot more," said Kevin Gillespie, owner, Ma Dears Southern Cuisine.

            Family Promise of Bergen County, a local nonprofit agency, originally worked with Chef Andres and continues to work with the restaurants to ensure three well-balanced, nutritious meal choices are available for the residents to select from.  Certificates are issued to the families in need to receive a dinner.  Since December of 2021, these nonprofits have serviced over 4,000 residents of Englewood by distributing 300 meals weekly.  The project plans to continue through May and serve 400 meals weekly, providing an additional 4,800 dinners to residents.

            "Our neighbors should not have to choose between purchasing food and paying the rent.  Their children should not go hungry, as they complete their school work," said Wimpfheimer.  "This collaboration helps individuals and families in need, local restaurants facing the loss of business, and the good karma you get for providing a healthy meal for your neighbors experiencing hardships."

Neighbors Can Help and Make a Difference

            Neighbors in the area can help today by making a donation to the project.  These are some suggested giving options: $10 provides one meal, $50 feeds a family of five, and $100 purchases a hot dinner for ten neighbors.

            Donations can be made electronically on The Community Chest's website at https://bit.ly/WinterDinnerProject.  Donors may also send a check to The Community Chest, 122 South Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey, 07631.  Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law.  For additional information about this project, contact Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer at 201-568-7474.

About The Community Chest

            Founded in 1933, The Community Chest, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, has supported local not-for-profit agencies for 87 years.  The Chest leads initiatives and supports nonprofits that make our communities stronger and benefit people in need in eastern Bergen County.  Each year, The Chest raises funds and allocates them to agencies demonstrating the capacity to provide services to local citizens.  The organization also provides coordinating and planning services in its communities, serving as a bridge between agencies and organizations and investing in the stability and quality of the service network.

            The Community Chest's Board of Managers is comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the lives of neighbors in need.  People interested in being considered for board membership may contact executive director Shelly Wimpfheimer at (201) 568-7474.

            For further information about The Chest, visit www.thecommunitychestebc.org/ or contact (201) 568-7474.  Stay updated about the organization’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Dekyi Tsotsong

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