A Spotlight on Outstanding Community-level Work to Aid Those Impacted by the Pandemic

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey, community-based organizations responded heroically — even as they suffered the pandemic’s impact too.

With staffs depleted by illness and a falling economy threatening their budgets, non-profits pooled their resources, shifted focus from existing work, and redirected funds to help New Jersey communities facing the greatest strain. They continue to be on the front lines providing direct relief to families, children, seniors and other people in need of critical services — such as housing, food, and counseling — meeting the health and economic needs of thousands of people in every part of the state.

In a just-released series of 30-second videos, New Jersey Health Initiatives and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation highlight some of the many inspiring accomplishments that represent the passion and determination of non-profits throughout the state:

  • Neighborhood Connections to Health in Freehold raised $76,000 for community meals and partnered in delivering 3,200 meals to students and their families over spring break.
  • The YMCA of Newark provided emergency shelter for nearly 500 people and partnered with the Newark Health Department to provide onsite COVID-19 testing.
  • Good Grief, based in Princeton and Morristown, helps families across the state grappling with how to deal with the loss of loved ones through virtual counseling programs and enrichment activities, and provided a free webinar to educators on grief, loss, and resilience.
  • Allies in Caring in Hammonton and the Hammonton Health Coalition established a free counseling hotline in English and Spanish, and donated thousands of diapers to families and arts and crafts kits to children with special needs.

The underlying message in the videos is that achieving true health equity means, among other things, that everyone has a place to sleep, healing help in times of loss, no barriers to the basics, and nutritious food on their tables.

Only then will everyone have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible — regardless of race, place, gender, income, or any other factor. We look forward to the time we can all turn from relief efforts to the necessary, long-term work of building a New Jersey free of systemic racism and all other obstacles to equity that the pandemic exposed and worsened. Until then, we know that the great work of local non-profits will continue — and we urge people throughout New Jersey to support them in every way they can.