FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Meridian Health Receive $300,000 Grant

Contact:Robert Cavanaugh, Manager of Public Affairs

FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Meridian Health Receive $300,000 Grant

The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Meridian Health, have received a $300,000 federal grant to act as Navigators, providing education and enrollment assistance for the Healthcare Marketplace throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties in New Jersey.

Through their collaboration, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties has created Healthy Community Partners, which will focus on promoting community health and disease prevention by alleviating barriers to accessing the social determinants of good health, including access to affordable health care.

"Lack of health insurance is a key factor of food insecurity in Monmouth and Ocean counties," said Carlos Rodriguez, FoodBank Executive Director. "This grant will allow us to extend our outreach efforts and lead to more families and individuals with health coverage. It is our goal to shorten the food lines and enable healthy, food secure communities."

As many as 56% of the 37,400 households served by the FoodBank and its member agencies in 2014 had significant unpaid medical and hospital bills, which intensified their struggle to put food on the table.

"Meridian has a long history of partnering with community based organizations," said Navneet Kathuria, M.D., MPH, MBA, Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Quality at Meridian Health. "This collaboration represents our continued efforts to partner with the community to bring new resources to improve the health of our community."

Open enrollment for health insurance began on November 1, 2015 and will be available through January 31, 2016. Navigators at The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Meridian Health will assist residents with any questions about the Marketplace and provide assistance with setting up an account, submitting eligibility applications, clarifying differences between the various health coverage options and helping people make informed decisions.

Navigators will provide information and enrollment assistance at multiple events and sites in the community throughout open enrollment. FoodBank assistance and enrollment events are listed at Regular weekly assistance is available at the Financial Success Center at the Freehold Mall for Monmouth County residentsand at the Ocean Family Success Center in Ocean County.

For an appointment for enrollment assistance in English or Spanish, call 732-643-5888.

About The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties:
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties distributes more than 11 million meals annually through a network of over 300 feeding programs. Hunger in Monmouth and Ocean Counties is no longer a crisis that can be remedied with emergency food alone. The FoodBank works toward long-term solutions to the chronic problem of food insecurity, with initiatives to support a community where all people at all times have access to enough food to maintain an active and healthy life. Through programs and services like our Culinary Training Program, Nutrition Education, and outreach programs such as SNAP (food stamps),VITA free tax assistance, and affordable healthcare, we are working to build food-secure communities. We feed the lines and work toward shortening them at the same time. The FoodBank receives the highest rating of 4 Stars from Charity Navigator. A total of 96 cents out of every dollar raised supports food and programs. Visit us at

About Meridian Health
A leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers, and outpatient centers. In April, Meridian Health and Raritan Bay Medical Center signed a definitive agreement to merge. In May, Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network also signed a definitive agreement to merge. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" for six consecutive years, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence. Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium alongside six of the nation's leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. With more than 100 convenient locations, over 1,800 beds, nearly 13,000 team members, and affiliations with more than 2,000 of the area's finest physicians, Meridian Health is a leading health care provider in New Jersey, providing quality health services, facilities, and programs. For more information, please visit

Hunger in America 2010. New Jersey State report and Monmouth and Ocean Counties, NJ report. Feeding America/ Mathematica Policy Research: Princeton. 2010.