April 1, 2021
How Public/Private Partnerships are Making a Difference
With so many issues confronting our world community these days, how do we begin to find help for those who need it?
It has been one long, wild year, and I’m amazed by what I will call the “Recovery Inequality.” On the one hand, we have industries that are booming right now – real estate, drug manufacturers, cleaning supply companies, construction, delivery services and thousands more. On the other hand, there are industries that are being crushed by regulations and struggling to survive – food and beverage, hotels, airlines, bars, clubs, Broadway, the performing arts.
When a business fails, it’s employees often fail to find new employment. As a result, one of the great challenges of this time is feeding an ever-increasing number of Americans who are now facing food insecurity. Here in Bergen County, we have seen unprecedented numbers of residents in need of food assistance over the past year. And local food pantries are struggling to fill this need for more families than ever before.
This is where the HealthBarn Foundation has jumped in – creating a unique “win-win-win” opportunity for both the local business community and the private sector to benefit during this trying time.
Through a grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, HealthBarn has been able to secure $1 million for local Ridgewood restaurants to supply meals to their neighbors in need. The grant pays the restaurants to prepare and package dinners – which means they can continue to stay open and employ people to help supply the meals. Various volunteer organizations and food pantries are helping to distribute the meals to local individuals and families. The result is a win for the restauranteurs, a win for their employees, and a win for those who might otherwise go hungry.
This is creative problem solving at its best. And it’s just one example of the type of collaboration that is possible when we focus less on the problem and more on the solution side of things.
Maybe it’s time we put our collective heads together to come up with ways the public and private sector can partner on behalf of our community, just like they have in Ridgewood. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all stopped waiting and wondering – and started doing!