THE B.E.A.T. CENTER CELEBRATES ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Over the past year, THE B.E.A.T. CENTER has provided more than $5 million in support to local families in need
Toms River, NJ (May, 2017) – The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Peoples Pantry (INSPIRE NJ) and Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation celebrates the one year anniversary of The B.E.A.T. Center (Bringing Everyone All Together) – a place where families and individuals can access food, job training and resources to help end the cyclical causes of hunger in Ocean County.
This “one-stop shop” serves as a FoodBank satellite location that includes a food distribution center, production kitchen for at-risk children in after school programs, culinary skills training program and resources such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program also known as food stamps), healthcare and free tax preparation, as well as the home of Peoples Pantry, a client-choice model food pantry and a second location of JBJ Soul Kitchen, that serves an in-need and paying customer. Those in-need volunteer an hour of time for their meal while the paying customer donates to cover their meal of those volunteering. Together, in year one, The B.E.A.T. Center partners have:
Distributed over $3 million in emergency food – 1.8 million pounds – across Ocean County
Prepared over 21,000 meals, including healthy meals for after school and summer programs for kids, and for diners at JBJ Soul Kitchen
Helped families access over $1.5 million in benefits through SNAP, Affordable Health Care and tax returns
Supported nearly $500,000 in job training and empowerment programs
The B.E.A.T. Center has also been embraced by the community in which it serves. Since opening, more than 22,000 volunteer hours have been logged and over 400,000 pounds of food have been donated by community members.
“The numbers, we believe speaks volumes to the enormous need in the community and to the enormous support of the community,” said Dorothea Bongiovi.
“The success of our efforts are in large part due to the embrace, support and partnership of the Toms River and greater Ocean County community. Together, hunger won’t win here!” said FoodBank Executive Director, Carlos Rodriguez.
“It continues to be an honor and a privilege to serve our community. This is our home and these are our neighbors,” said Patricia Donaghue, Executive Director of The Peoples Pantry.
The B.E.A.T. Center is located at 1769 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ, and is accessible by public transportation. For more information and to learn how to help, please visit www.thebeatcenter.org.
About The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties began in 1984, when three people saw hunger at the Jersey Shore and decided to make a difference. They purchased a small, dilapidated warehouse in Spring Lake. Carpenters, masons and other members of the community donated work, office furniture and supplies. Food streamed in from hundreds of donors. After one year, the FoodBank was serving 25 charities with 100,000 pounds of food.
Today, the FoodBank is the primary provider of food and services to a network of over 300 partner agencies. Together, they support more than 12 million meals annually, including 2.5 million pounds of fresh produce. They serve individuals and families in need, and reach 1 in 10 people in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. In Ocean County, 71,300 residents or 1 in 8 people receive food and resources. Client services links households to SNAP and affordable healthcare benefits, free tax preparation and career development opportunities, including a Culinary Skills Training Program.
The FoodBank is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to alleviate hunger and build food security in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. They receive the highest ranking of 4 stars from Charity Navigator and are a member of Feeding America. A total of 95 cents out of every dollar raised supports food and programs. A $1 donation can provide up to 3 meals. They aim to feed the food lines while working to shorten them. To learn more, please visit www.fulfillnj.org.
About the Soul Foundation and the JBJ Soul Kitchen
Since 2006, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation has provided solutions and opportunity for families and individuals in economic despair. The organization assists in establishing programs that provide food and affordable housing for those affected by poverty and homelessness, while supporting social services and job-training programs.
The Soul Foundation has helped provide over 500 units of affordable housing and shelter in 10 states for thousands of people who were formerly homeless or of low-income. In October 2011, the Foundation expanded its services by opening the JBJ Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ to address issues of food insecurity.
The community kitchen serves delicious, healthy meals in a restaurant setting, diners contribute either volunteer hours or a monetary donation for their meals. Those in-need are directed to resources. The JBJ Soul Kitchen runs the Employment and Empowerment Team (EET) Program which connects a team of professionals with qualified volunteers. This award winning program aids with resume writing, interview skills, job coaching, financial counseling and legal advice. The second location is in the B.E.A.T. Center in Toms River. The goal of the Foundation is to assist with rebuilding pride in one’s self and one’s community – one SOUL at a time. For more information, please visit our website at www.jbjsf.org or www.jbjsoulkitchen.org
About The Peoples Pantry (INSPIRE NJ)
The Peoples Pantry is a choice model food Pantry that originated in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. This severe storm unearthed Ocean County’s previously hidden struggle with food insecurity. Food insecurity, or lack of a consistent and stable source of food, effects over 79,000 residents of our county…but you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. They’re the single parents of four who can’t afford to feed their children on a single income. Seniors who’s fixed income can no longer support them. They’re your coworkers who are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. They’re even your friends and family who are struggling in silence because they don’t qualify for government assistance. One of our main goals is to break the stigma surrounding food insecurity and educate others about the true prevalence of the problem. We are consistently serving 4,000 Ocean County residents monthly in a dignified, respectful and kind environment. This would be impossible without the ongoing support from our local community. In the course of the last year the local residents, retailers and various civic groups have donated in excess of 1,095,000 lbs. of food. For more information, please visit www.thepeoplespantry.org.