Fulfill Opens First Ever “Benefits Bus”

Kim Guadagno, CEO of Fulfill, addresses the community for the Benefits Bus’ maiden voyage. (Photo courtesy Fulfill)

  ASBURY PARK – Fulfill has launched a Benefits Bus, the first-in-the-nation benefits station on wheels.

  Community leaders, state and local officials, and residents all gathered around the brand new Benefits Bus that hit the streets recently in Asbury Park. The Fulfill Benefits Bus brings services directly to people in need while doing so in a COVID-safe way.

  The Benefits Bus includes three socially distant workstations with plexiglass protection. Once the bus is parked, a “slide” mechanism on the bus makes the space wide enough to allow at least six feet between the workstations. The bus also has a ventilation system, running water, heat, a restroom, and a chair lift.

  All bus team members will register families for SNAP (food stamps), affordable health care, and Medicaid. They also aid with tax preparation, affordable housing applications, budgeting and money management, utility expenses, and senior services.

  “Fulfill’s mission is to end hunger in our community. But simply feeding the hungry does not address the long-term root of hunger. We believe connecting our neighbors in need to services that can improve their overall situation is key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and as such, hunger. Many of our clients do not drive, and there is no public transportation to our building, so it is crucial that we bring these services to their doorstep while keeping everyone safe,” said Fulfill CEO and President Kim Guadagno.

  Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot talked to the crowd via Zoom from a jumbotron screen. “As more people are turning to food banks for help, it is imperative that we connect them to all the resources available to get them back on their feet quickly. We are excited to join Fulfill today to launch the Benefits Bus and reach as many families as possible,” said Babineaux-Fontenot. Fulfill was able to purchase and retrofit the bus thanks to a Feeding America COVID relief grant.

The Benefits Bus may be coming to a community near you. (Photo courtesy Fulfill)

  Carole Johnson, the Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, was also present at the launch of the Benefits Bus and expressed how the bus would benefit families. “These are challenging times for New Jerseyans, which is why Fulfill’s Benefits Bus is a game-changer in meeting people where they are and helping to connect families to food assistance, medical assistance and much more,” Commissioner Johnson said. “NJ Human Services will continue to use all available levers to get as much assistance to families as possible, but we can only do that in partnership with community leaders like Fulfill. Thanks to former Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, the Fulfill SNAP outreach team, and the frontline workforce that works every day to not only meet families’ emergency food needs, but to enroll folks in benefit programs that can offer consistent help. The Benefits Bus is a creative way to increase access to the vital Human Services’ assistance programs that help families stay fed, safe, and healthy.”

  Curtis Moreland, the President of “From Jersey with Love” hosted the Benefits Bus event outside his pantry on Dewitt Avenue. This pantry is one of roughly 300 feeding agencies Fulfill has in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

  If you live in Monmouth or Ocean County, you are eligible for these free, confidential services provided at the Benefits Bus. To make an appointment, call 732-643-5888 or email services@fulfillnj.org. To board the Benefits Bus, all clients must have their temperature checked, answer a safety questionnaire, and wear a mask.