This week in Newark, North Ward residents who have been financially impacted by the public health crisis caused by COVID-19 applied for up to $100 in vouchers to be used at local businesses in the North Ward.
The Mt. Prospect Partnership and the Bloomfield Avenue/Lower Broadway Alliance, the District Management Corporations for Newark’s two North Ward Business Improvement Districts, have teamed up with North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr, Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Councilman-at-Large Luis Quintana, Wesley Towers and Forest Hill Community Association to create a $20,000 fund to help residents impacted by the virus. The fund is also being supported by private donors.
North Ward residents who have experienced a recent job loss due to the COVID-19 crisis and senior citizens who may be dealing with specific financial and/or health issues related to the virus are eligible to receive the vouchers.
“We understand the concerns that our neighbors have about lost income and their ability to keep up with necessary household expenses like food and childcare-related items,” Ramos said. “At the same time, we need to support our local businesses and help them get through this period of financial strain and uncertainty.”
Several businesses who are members of the Mt. Prospect Partnership and the Bloomfield Avenue/Lower Broadway Alliance have agreed to accept the vouchers, including Food Fair and Pueblo supermarkets on Mt. Prospect Avenue.
Chris Bernardo, administrator for the Mt. Prospect Partnership and the Bloomfield Avenue/Lower Broadway Alliance, said he is reaching out to all member businesses to ensure widespread participation.
“When Councilman Ramos brought this initiative to the table, I jumped on it immediately because this was an opportunity to not only help our struggling residents but also our businesses, which have been hurting as well because of the stay-home order,” Bernardo said.
“We fully support the governor’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, but we also need to make sure our businesses can continue to pay their rent, utilities, taxes and most importantly, their employees,” Bernardo said. “This is a win-win for our residents and for our business community.”
Once approved, those who have applied will receive the following via mail: 1) Up to five vouchers in denominations of $20 each based on need, and 2) A list of participating stores. Each $20 voucher is good for one purchase only, no cash back. Vouchers are only good at participating stores. All vouchers must be redeemed by June 30, 2020. Vouchers will be distributed based on available funding.