METUCHEN – The Metuchen Downtown Alliance has been “quietly and without fanfare” purchasing thousands of meals from local restaurants to feed those in need throughout Middlesex County.
Using a $390,000 grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and working in partnership with local restaurants in Metuchen’s bustling downtown, the Metuchen Downtown Alliance (MDA) purchased more than 15,000 meals over the last three months alone, according to a press release through the MDA.
These meals were distributed to people experiencing food insecurity including families in Metuchen. Beneficiaries of the program include the First Presbyterian Food Pantry in Metuchen and Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, according to the press release.
Dawn Mackey, executive director of the MDA said, “this initiative evidences the multifaceted work the MDA does. Yes, we run wonderful events like the Winter Market and Downtown Caroling, but we also work to generate business opportunities for our members.”
Mackey added, “this grant will ultimately provide over 30,000 meals for people in need and generate $390,000 of revenue for local businesses. We appreciate the NJEDA for the funds and support.”
Sarah Teti, director of the First Presbyterian Food Bank, said, “the meals the MDA and local restaurants are providing are needed. We are experiencing a growing demand for food. The cost of food is higher than ever and those with limited incomes like the elderly and disabled are being hit hard. We are grateful to the MDA for making this happen.”
The MDA will continue this initiative through the end of March when the grant program ends, but they are hopeful the NJEDA will extend the program, according to the press release.
This is the NJEDA’s third round of the Sustain & Serve NJ program, which provides grant funds to groups like the MDA to purchase meals from New Jersey businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 and distribute to those in need. Since February 2021 the initiative has provided 2.5 million meals free of charge to persons experiencing food insecurity, according to the press release.
The MDA, which started in 2017, is a volunteer-based, nonprofit downtown management corporation dedicated to the management and revitalization of the designated Metuchen business district in partnership with stakeholders, residents, municipal government, and other partners.
For more information about the MDA or to donate to its Sustain and Serve NJ program email firstname.lastname@example.org.