RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A huge boost was given to hungry families in Bergen County. A local charity won a $1 million grant to give out 100,000 meals.
As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Thursday, it’s helping restaurants stay afloat, too.READ MORE: Little Girl Seen Wandering Alone On Long Island Found Say, Police Say
Stacey Antine has run the charity Healing Meals for five years, gifting healthy food to sick adults and children.
The need exploded when the pandemic struck.
“We had to pivot and we started gifting meals to seniors in need, and also Ridgewood social services,” Antine said.
More money and donations were needed to keep up. That’s when Antine discovered a state grant of $14 million that eventually went to two dozen organizations.
Antine’s Health Barn decided to bid big for $1 million to feed 100,000 people, and won!READ MORE: Roofing Students Help Build Home For New Jersey Family In Need
“We got the full ask. It’s like hitting the lottery,” she said.
Now the Health Barn will work with up to 20 local restaurants, like “It’s Greek To Me,” to make sure no one goes hungry.
“This is just such a win-win. We will be pumping out 1,100 meals a day, everyday, seven days a week for 90 days, going to food pantries throughout Bergen County,” said the restaurant’s owner Paul Vagianos.
Bergen County Commissioner Ramon Hasche said the grant program is mutually beneficial: feeding people in need and assisting restaurants.
“This helped some of them even be able to keep the doors open and stay in business,” Hasche said.
Officials said the grant award could not have come at a better time. Some pantries in Bergen County were just days away from running out of food and restaurants were at risk of closing.MORE NEWS: New York City Announces $50 Million 'Community Care Plan' To Expand Senior Services
Now, there’s hope and help for months to come.