The New Jersey Economic Development Association (NJEDA) has received an additional $17.5 million for Phase 3 of its Sustain and Serve Program.

The money, provided by an allocation from the American Rescue Plan and state funding, will be awarded to 30 non-profits throughout the state, all of which have already been chosen. However, they will each have to face a final review before awards are rendered.

Sustain and Serve was created during the lockdowns as a way to not only feed the many hungry mouths that resulted, but to fund the many small-business restaurants that were struggling to stay open. The way it works is like this: Money is allocated from available funds and awarded to non-profits. They then take that money and buy pre-made meals from local restaurants. The food is then either handed out or delivered to the homes of the hungry.

It became necessary to run the program for a third time because, even two years out from lockdowns, restaurants in the state continue to struggle. It also goes without saying that the previous two phases were incredibly popular and effective. The program is already responsible for the purchase of over 3.5 million meals from over 400 restaurants. And this latest phase will add on another 1.5 million meals. Total funding after this refreshment will stand at $52.5 million. That’s a fantastic achievement.

You can find a list of the non-profits that have been selected here. It is not yet known which restaurants will be used to provide the meals.