A New Jersey charity that kept plugging away despite the pandemic has received national recognition.

According to NorthJersey.com, the Franciscan Charities in Newark refused to give up when COVID forced them to shut down their soup kitchen; the kitchen had been serving hundreds of people a day who now might not have access to any food.

Since the needy could no longer come to them, the charity came to the community, preparing the food off-site and filling bags with meals to be distributed to the people who needed them. They now provide the meals from outside their home base at St. Ann’s Church on South 6th Street in Newark. For this effort, the Franciscan Charities was honored by the Obama Foundation as a “Story of Hope.”

The Franciscan Charities began at St. Ann’s in 2004 in the basement of the church; they didn’t have much of a kitchen or running water and only served 12 people that first day. Since then, the program has grown by serving over a million meals, distributing more than 20 thousand coats, hats, gloves, scarves hats, and toys, supplying school supplies and backpacks to more than a thousand Newark students, providing countless packs of personal hygiene products and diapers, and resolving thousands of social service and welfare issues.

They now have hundreds of volunteers, but only three full-time employees. The charity hasn’t missed a single day due to the pandemic, and serves hundreds of people who line up every day for a meal.

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