(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, HelloFresh, ShopRite of Newark, Table to Table, and Colavita distributed 3,600 complete Thanksgiving turkey dinners and additional food products to Newark residents on November 20, 2023 at Newark's Training Recreation Education Center (55 Ludlow Street). The distribution was free and open to the public via drive-through and walk-up.
"Thanksgiving is particularly meaningful in Newark because it is a city which unites to give," said Mayor Baraka. "Today we hold our city's Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and celebrate a remarkable milestone - 2 million meals distributed in partnership with HelloFresh through the 'Meals with Meaning' program. These wonderful accomplishments are born of a true collaboration where each partner gives and receives with generosity and joy.
"On behalf of the entire City, I extend our gratitude to HelloFresh, who jumped in at the beginning of the COVID pandemic to say, 'We have food - help us get it to people,' and they've done nothing but step up their commitment ever since. I want to thank Colavita, Table to Table, and WSL Produce House who supply the food and food products essential to our success. And I thank ShopRite of Newark for its deep, long-term dedication to the people of Newark and their nutritional needs. All these partners exemplify the true meaning of Thanksgiving and give us something extra special to be grateful for this year. I wish everyone in Newark a happy Thanksgiving with an awareness of our blessings and our solidarity," he added.
The event also celebrated a donation milestone of 2 million meals for HelloFresh's Meals with Meaning program, in partnership with the City. This outreach program began at the beginning of the COVID shutdown in April 2020, providing free meal kits to Newark residents facing food insecurity. The program continues to this day, with volunteers packing and distributing 1,300 boxes per week at locations rotating through the city's five wards.
"We're proud to partner with Mayor Baraka and the City of Newark to support local food-insecure families and alleviate the stress of getting access to nourishing meals this Thanksgiving," said Uwe Voss, CEO of HelloFresh, North America. "Hunger remains a critical issue with more than 1 million individuals facing food insecurity in New Jersey alone. While we're thrilled to reach our two million meals milestone, we recognize the need to continue providing meaningful assistance to the community and work together to combat food insecurity."
In addition to the 3,600 turkeys distributed, HelloFresh provided 3,600 side dish kits, a holiday recipe card, and an extra pasta and pesto dish. The event was also sponsored by Colavita, Table to Table, and WSL Produce House.
"For more than two decades, Table to Table has proudly served our hungry neighbors throughout the City of Newark by delivering millions of pounds of fresh, nutritious food donated by generous partners like HelloFresh," said Julie Kinner, VP of Operations, Table to Table. "We are eternally grateful to work alongside such amazing partners as it truly represents a caring community taking action."
"In addition to the 10,000 turkeys ShopRite Partners In Caring is donating this holiday season to regional food banks, the ShopRite of Newark will once again join Mayor Ras J. Baraka in providing holiday meals to local families," said Neil Greenstein, owner and operator of the ShopRite of Newark. "The ShopRite of Newark is proud to donate hundreds of turkeys each year to the city to make sure that neighbors who are struggling can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We are thankful to Mayor Baraka and his team and all the organizations that raise awareness about food insecurity and help fight hunger in our community."
"This means the world...to come out here and celebrate with turkeys. It means so much to our neighborhood and community," said Alia Clark, a turkey recipient. "A lot of people that will get these are homeless, or don't have turkeys, or money to even buy turkeys. So, this is like a blessing to our community for you to come out and support us."
HelloFresh aims to change the way people eat forever, inclusive of those facing food insecurity. Its social impact program focuses on reducing food waste and creating a more equitable food system for those in need. The program consists of their "Meals with Meaning" initiative, launched in 2020, as a response to the pandemic and elevated rates of food insecurity. Through Meals with Meaning, HelloFresh provides 40,000 free meal kits with wholesome, easy-to-follow recipes to people facing food insecurity every single week across the country. Each kit contains HelloFresh ingredients and step-by-step recipe cards to create home-cooked meals.