Newark Working Kitchens to deliver 10K meals to city residents this week

How’s this for giving back: Newark Working Kitchens — a program created during the time of COVID to deliver nutritious meals created by Newark restaurants to low-income seniors and families — will deliver more than 10,000 Thanksgiving meals to Newark residents over Thanksgiving Week.

Organizers said each of the 24 Newark-based restaurants involved in NWK has created its own Thanksgiving-inspired menu, and will deliver thousands of meals to local residents in senior, low-income and disabled housing from Monday through Thursday.

As the Newark community continues to face restrictions and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, NWK officials said they wanted to ensure that the community members most in need will have a warm meal for the holiday.

This collaboration has been made possible thanks to a special donation from Audible’s Black Employee Network. Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens in April as a continuation of its years-long support for local restaurants.

Don Katz, Audible founder and executive chairman, said the group is happy to help in any way possible.

“I celebrate and thank these amazing restaurants that have delivered more than 600,000 meals and will continue cooking for their neighbors most in need around Thanksgiving,” he said. “Newark Working Kitchens continues to be validated as a win-win for community members without enough food and the independent small businesses that can stay in business, and I urge corporations, philanthropies and donors of all giving levels to help us sustain this vital program.”

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he is appreciative of the movement.

“2020 has been a challenging year and, for many, that means a very different Thanksgiving than what’s been enjoyed in the past, so we appreciate impactful supporters like Newark Working Kitchens helping our residents through these times,” he said.

Walter Green, owner of Uncle Willie’s Wings, agreed.

“During the holiday season, everyone deserves to be able to eat a hot meal. Especially this year, when we’re in the midst of a pandemic, it’s important that we take care of our neighbors,” he said. “Community is so important to me and 2020 has presented challenges that none of us could have ever imagined.  This Thanksgiving I am so grateful that I survived COVID-19 and that my restaurant survived its first year of operations.  None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t been able to become a part of Newark Working Kitchens to serve Newark during this difficult time.”

Since launching in April, NWK has delivered more than 600,000 meals to more than 10,000 residents across 60 locations. All meals are prepared by NWK’s 24 participating restaurants, more than half of which are minority-and/or female-owned. NWK has sustained hundreds of jobs during the pandemic and helped restaurants relaunch services and rehire staff over the last six months.

Current participating NWK restaurants include: Andros Restaurant & Diner, Barcade, Blueprint Café, Bulgogi Zip, City Rub Smokehouse, Fresh Coast, Harvest Table, Kilkenny Alehouse, King’s Family Restaurant & Catering, King’s #1 Family Restaurant, La Cocina, Lit 21, Marcus B&P, McGovern’s Tavern, Mercato Tomato Pie/Novelty Burger, Nizi Sushi, O’LaLa Empanadas, Panzz Seafood & Wings, Pita Square, Robert’s Pizza, Sigri Indian BBQ, The Halal Guys, Uncle Willie’s Wings and Veggie Walla.

Audible Black Employee Network co-leader Yvonne Durant said the group is thrilled to be able to help.

“The decision was easy,” she said. “There is a sense of urgency in today’s world, especially when it comes to food insecurity.

“Hunger doesn’t wait.”