Improving Food Access in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook during the COVID-19 Pandemic

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Building Bridges to Better Health
South Bound Brook gift card distribution
South Bound Brook Clerk Christina Fischer and Mayor Chris Shoffner distribute grocery store gift cards to residents.

At our coalition’s grant leadership team meeting on March 23, 2020, the planned agenda included a discussion of options for using remaining grant funds to help promote a Culture of Health in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook. During the meeting, it quickly became clear that COVID-19 was having a huge impact on our communities’ health and finances.

Food access rose to the top of the list for urgent needs. Our team decided to use the full $17,000 in our available Communities Moving to Action grant funds for grocery store gift cards. We are grateful to NJHI for quickly approving this pivot in spending, so that we were able to distribute the gift cards to town leaders on April 10.

“On behalf of the Borough of Bound Brook, I want to extend our deepest gratitude for New Jersey Health Initiatives’ generosity and efforts in making this happen. This flexibility is making a lot of people very happy and grateful,” said Bound Brook Mayor Robert Fazen.

The gift cards have been distributed to adults, families, and seniors in the town who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Many residents have lost their jobs and need extra support to buy food. In South Bound Brook, the mayor posted about the gift cards on the town web site, and had a huge turnout from residents in the drive-through distribution line.

“Through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Healthier Somerset, we have received $50 gift cards to be used at the Bound Brook ShopRite. Due to this pandemic, RWJF and Healthier Somerset recognize the need to assist our residents and were able to support them through the gift card donation.  These cards will be greatly appreciated by residents in need,” said Mayor Chris Shoffner of South Bound Brook.

Our Building Bridges to Better Health team continues to work to assess local needs related to COVID-19, and help our communities make it through this difficult time. Our diverse partners are all contributing their expertise and dedication to make Bound Brook and South Bound Brook healthier. Connect with our project director, Serena Collado, to learn more.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Tiffany Neal
Building Bridges to Better Health