The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today highlighted the award of $69,760 in federal Community Services Block Grant funding to O.C.E.A.N., Inc., which used the money to purchase a mobile kitchen trailer that is helping partnering organizations serve free hot meals to disadvantaged and vulnerable households in Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties. The O.C.E.A.N., Inc. mobile kitchen trailer was used for the first time this past Saturday at Turning Point Day Center in Atlantic City for a free Murphy’s Chicken & Potatoes community feeding. The Murphy’s Community Feeding Tour was put in place to assist struggling families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The objective of the mobile kitchen trailer is to provide timely, coordinated, and effective community action through food distributions that meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations. The trailer will travel to Code Blue, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations throughout the tri-county area that help people in need, including chronically homeless populations.
“A hot, wholesome meal served by people who care can do so much to feed the body and soul of people who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We are eager to see O.C.E.A.N., Inc. partner with community organizations to bring this mobile kitchen to places where it can make a real difference and even serve as a catalyst for positive change in people’s lives.”
The mobile kitchen trailer is configured to serve large volumes of people and includes a six-burner stovetop and oven, 40-pound fryer, 36-inch griddle, three-basin sink, tankless water heater, and commercial-sized freezer and refrigerator.
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. will measure program success based on the amount of people served as the mobile kitchen takes root in the communities and begins providing meals. It is utilizing a sign-in sheet to document those served and another sign-in sheet for community organizations it partners with on the mobile kitchen. All partnering organizations are required to notify O.C.E.A.N., Inc. well in advance for the use of the kitchen trailer and must document what food and other services they will be providing.
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. and its community partners provide their own advertising, including banners and feather flags the day of, to engage the community at each mobile kitchen event.
As the Community Action Agency serving Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties, O.C.E.A.N., Inc. works to fight poverty at the local level through programs such as food assistance, energy assistance, affordable housing construction, Head Start, weatherization, and housing counseling.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, and disaster recovery and mitigation.