Photo Gallery: Coming Together in the Face of COVID

New Jerseyans with the greatest needs have experienced the heaviest burdens since long before the pandemic. Over the past year, the value of the trusting relationships that community-based organizations, health care personnel, municipal agencies, school administrators, houses of worship, law enforcement, libraries, youth, local businesses and resident leaders have built together has been clear. The relationships, partnerships and connectedness in not only the communities that New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) supports and across our statewide, peer learning network, but in communities throughout the state, has helped them mobilize, implement best practices and respond to residents’ evolving needs with amazing speed and commitment.

Take a look at the collaborative work and accomplishments of NJHI grantees and their partners since March 2020. It is our privilege to support these efforts, which are helping to inform an equitable recovery and build long-term resiliency.

In collaboration with partners like the Perth Amboy Salvation Army, PARTNER, God’s Army Ministries of NJ, and the Chaplain Corps, the Raritan Bay Area YMCA welcomed those who are homeless and housing vulnerable to shower at its facilities twice a week, and receive meals, hygiene products and additional services. Learn More

In Bound Brook and South Bound Brook, the Building Bridges to Better Health coalition distributed grocery store gift cards to adults, families, and seniors in the town who have experienced financial hardship and needed extra support to buy food. In South Bound Brook, Mayor Chris Shoffner posted about the gift cards on the town’s web site. A number of residents participated in the drive-through distribution. Get Details

In 2020, 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 Freehold community has been named a finalist for the 2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. Learn More

Holly City Development Corporation partnered with Millville Public Schools and the Millville Police Department to distribute Family Fun Kits to neighborhood families, supported by funding that was raised through the school system. These kits provided families with activities they could do together while following stay-at-home advisories. Read More

By June 2020, some of the foremost nonpartisan health, nutrition, and economic organizations in the United States called on Congress to increase monthly SNAP payments by 15% a month ($100 for a family of four) for the duration of the economic downturn. In a commentary for The Star-Ledger/NJ.com, New Jersey Health Initiatives Director Bob Atkins and New Jersey YMCA State Alliance CEO Darrin Anderson Sr. explained why if ever there was a time to increase SNAP assistance, the time had come. Full Op-Ed

The Bridgeton Next GEN Leaders prepared meals daily and distributed them to two senior communities and individuals experiencing homelessness. They also conducted door-to-door surveys to identify families who cannot get to the designated Grab and Go summer feeding sites. With the Bridgeton school district’s permission, the Next GEN Leaders began delivering meals to those families. Learn More



In August 2020, The All In: Data for Community Health Network published “What We Learned From the First Wave,” featuring articles from BUILD Health Challenge, Pew Charitable Trust Health Impact Project, Population Health Innovation Lab, The Public Health National Center for Innovations, Network for Public Health Law, New Jersey Health Initiatives and Data Across Sectors for Health. The publication functions as a time capsule documenting the first 29 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and a tactical manual with tips and tools for public health data-sharing during the pandemic. Articles profiling the efforts of the NJ-based AC Collaborative, the Healthier Middlesex collaborative, Ironbound Community Corporation and its Compassionate NJ partners, as well as those of public health departments in Navajo Nation, Minneapolis during the Black Lives Matter protests, work regarding Housing Displacements in California, and Tenant Advocacy projects throughout the nation are featured in this publication. Download the publication.

















Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of NJHI, sat down virtually with Hyperakt to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for its Portraits of Leadership series. Read the Interview

In 2020, Acenda Integrated Health distributed food to families across Atlantic and Gloucester counties through a network of Family Success Centers and Maternal Health Programs. Read More

View the sequel to this gallery series