MONOUTH COUNTY – Fulfill, a food bank based in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, has released a statement asking for $725,000 from Monmouth Commissioners regarding the CARES Act grant money.
In 2020, Fulfill had received $355,258 in funding from Ocean County through the CARES Act. Fulfill President & CEO Kim Guadagno states that when they requested a similar grant from Monmouth County, they were denied.
With the announcement of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Fulfill is making sure they are not left out again. In the package, it lists that Monmouth County is slated to receive $120 million in 2021.
Guadagno addressed a letter to the Monmouth County Commissioners on March 17 requesting a grant of $725,000 from the county.
“Eighty-seven percent donor funded, Fulfill depends upon the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, and government,” Guadagno said. “Without this collective support, we could not meet the spike in demand and help ensure that no one goes to bed hungry.”
According to the letter, Fulfill has provided 3.3 million more meals to the food insecure in Monmouth County since the pandemic, costing a total of $4.7 million. Those 3.3 million meals are distributed as: 1.2 million to Asbury Park; 1.1 million meals to Long Branch; 303,140 to Neptune and 460,443 to the county seat of Freehold Borough and Township.
On March 24, the Monmouth Commissioners published a statement responding with the reason why Fulfill never received any funding.
Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone and Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley wrote that the food bank never formally applied for assistance.
“After thorough review, we found that Fulfill did not submit an application for the first round of CARES Act grant funding. Not only was there no application, there was no letter or formal request for grant funding ever sent to the Board of County Commissioners for review,” the commissioners wrote. “Commissioner Director Arnone has personally spoken to the Chair of the Fulfill Board of Trustees and informed her that an application was never filed by Fulfill.”
The commissioners also noted that they did not receive the letter from Fulfill until March 22.
“We did have other food banks in Monmouth County apply and they were all granted funding,” the commissioners wrote. “With that said, the Board of County Commissioners welcomes the opportunity to work with Fulfill to evaluate the great work they are doing for our underserved, their financial situation and how we can make both better.”