Fulfill FoodBank Announces Hospital Partnership Program with CentraState and Hackensack Meridian Health to Identify and Feed More People in Need Due to COVID-19

For Immediate Release


Fulfill FoodBank Announces Hospital Partnership Program with CentraState and 

Hackensack Meridian Health to Identify and Feed More 

People in Need Due to COVID-19


Toms River, New Jersey, February 12, 2021 – “With food insecurity soaring at the Jersey Shore since the onset of the pandemic, Fulfill FoodBank has made it a priority to find people who have fallen through the cracks and make sure they are fed. Fulfill’s Hospital Partnership Program helps us find people in Monmouth and Ocean Counties who are having trouble putting food on the table due to COVID-19 through illness, loss of income, and other hard times,” said Fulfill CEO and President Kim Guadagno, the former Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey.


“Specifically, hospital employees, new and expectant mothers, and patients with severe COVID-19 cases, cancer, and other long-term illnesses who are struggling, are being identified by professionals at local hospitals and connected to Fulfill through this partnership so they can receive much needed food and social services,” said Lauren Holman, Fulfill Board Chair.


In attendance at the announcement of Fulfill’s Hospital Partnership Program with Hackensack Meridian Health and CentraState at The B.E.A.T. Center in Toms River was Robin Severin of Waretown, Ocean County. Severin is a local hospital employee who was connected to Fulfill for help because she is unable to work as much as usual due to ongoing health issues.


“COVID-19 precautions at hospitals do not allow people with a fever to work in the building, and understandably so. I have been sent home from my job several times for having a fever, which has never been due to the coronavirus. So, as doctors work to figure out the cause of my recurring fevers and I miss shifts, it is comforting to know Fulfill is here to provide meals for me and my family of four,” said Severin.


Since Fulfill’s Hospital Partnership Program started in November, more than 100 families have been identified from local hospitals for food and social services. As of this week, 10,000 meals have been provided by Fulfill through this program. Families also receive assistance from Fulfill’s Resource Connections Team with applications for SNAP (food stamps), affordable housing, affordable healthcare, senior services, utilities assistance, and more, with the goal of getting families back on their feet.


“As a Fulfill trustee, I’m distinctly aware of our organization’s dedication to supporting our communities, providing access to healthy food,” said Dean Lin, MHA, MBA, FACHE, FCPP, President, Care Transformation Services and Physician Practices, Hackensack Meridian Health, Board of Trustees member, Fulfill FoodBank. “Now more than ever, Fulfill’s services and resources are essential.  I’m so proud of this partnership assisting our patients battling long-term illness, new and expectant moms, their families and our team members through Hackensack Meridian’s Circle of Compassion.”  The Circle of Compassion, funded by network leaders, team members, and community, assists team members who are facing emergent and temporary financial difficulties; medical, childcare, and utilities costs, among others, with aid and links them to charitable resources and services, like Fulfill’s, for support.


“As a healthcare provider, we are able to identify patients who may need help beyond the walls of the hospital and provide resources to them,” said CentraState Healthcare President and CEO John T. Gribbin. “We are happy to partner with Fulfill to address food insecurity in our community, a very real problem that has escalated since the pandemic began.”


In attendance at the announcement in Toms River, was also Rob Cressen of Toms River. Cressen and his mother are currently receiving meals through Fulfill’s Hospital Partnership Program. “After recently being in the hospital for 31 days with pancreatitis and COVID, and my mom also was sick with COVID, preparing meals is just not possible right now. We would not be eating dinner if Fulfill wasn’t providing it. It is wonderful to know the support is here for people, like us, who are struggling,” said Cressen.


The meals are being made at both of Fulfill’s commercial kitchens, in Neptune and Toms River. Participating businesses in our Restaurant Partnership Program are also preparing meals to help us keep up with demand. Restaurants receive a seven-dollar stipend per meal. The process helps keep restaurant employees working, while feeding those in need.


Fulfill would like to give special thanks to the Jules L. Plangere Jr. Family Foundation, our first funder of this program, for its generous donation which made the launch possible. Additionally, donations of two retrofitted trucks to transport meals from the Wintrode Family Foundation and the Causeway Family of Dealerships will also help Fulfill meet the growing demand for food.


About Fulfill FoodBank, formerly The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties


Pre-pandemic, Fulfill was feeding 136,000 people, including 50,000 children. Today, Fulfill is feeding 215,000 people, including 70,000 children. Fulfill has served 3.3 million more meals since the coronavirus crisis affected the Jersey Shore.


Fulfill has been providing food for families in Monmouth and Ocean Counties for more than thirty years. We were there to provide food and comfort during economic storms, Superstorm Sandy, and now the pandemic. During the current coronavirus crisis, the demand for food has grown 40%. We expect the demand to grow as more businesses close and families exhaust their savings. Feeding America estimates the demand for food in our area will rise to 56%.

Fulfill feeds children, seniors, veterans, and the working poor. Fulfill serves pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens, provides hot meals for children after school, and sends food home for those same children over the weekend. Fulfill also provides job training with our Culinary Training Program which just started up again with social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions in place. 


Fulfill has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for more than ten consecutive years. This distinction means Fulfill, a 501 (c)3 charitable organization, outperformed most charities in America in areas of efficiency, fiscal integrity, and effectiveness. In fact, 95 cents of every dollar donated to Fulfill goes directly to feeding the hungry in our community. 


Follow Fulfill on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, and share our posts to help raise awareness about hunger. To donate or volunteer, go to Sponsorship opportunities are also available. 



Karla Bardinas
Think Media Communications