Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ProudLiving Companies, a New Jersey-based real estate company with a mission of long-term neighborhood revitalization, is donating 200 meals per week to essential workers in Essex County, NJ. The program is running on a weekly basis from June to mid-July.
In partnership with Papa Pat’s Pizza in Newark, NJ., senior leaders at ProudLiving, including President and Founder, T.J. Caleca, and Property Manager, Hakeem Williams, will be onsite at municipal and health care facilities distributing pizzas to essential health and public safety workers countywide.
“At ProudLiving, we simply want to show that local businesses appreciate and support those professionals who continue to make sacrifices for the sake of community well-being,” said Caleca. “Through our active community partnerships, and our latest initiative to deliver fresh pizza to essential workers, we’re doing a small part to give back. We continue to be impressed by the kindness and dedication demonstrated by health care and public safety professionals. I believe that at the very least, we can ensure they’re well-fed.”
Deliveries began on June 5 and will run through Friday, July 17. The first June event fed municipal workers at the East Orange Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Newark Police Department. On June 12, ProudLiving supplied meals for the Orange Police and Fire Departments, along with the city’s Municipal Court.
On June 19, ProudLiving and Papa Pat’s will serve pizza to individuals at the Newark Fire Department, Essex County Sheriff’s Office and Irvington Police and Fire Departments, and will appear at a voter registration drive at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Orange. A delivery is also scheduled for the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in East Orange on June 24. Organizers are currently planning delivery destinations one week in advance.
The initiative has also been spearheaded in part by ProudLiving’s Head of Charitable Advancement, Isabel Hayden. “Under T.J.’s direction and with the assistance of our local relationships, we are approaching municipal offices and local health care facilities to distribute these meals to as many people as possible,” said Hayden.
“On behalf of Papa Pat’s Pizza, of the West Ward in the City of Newark, we would like to thank the individuals who have dedicated their time and service during these unprecedented times,” said Pat Romagnuolo, owner, Papa Pat’s Pizza. “These individuals have shown tremendous courage and selflessness and have remained thoughtful in providing the highest quality of care during one of the more challenging events in recent memory. We’re thrilled to partner with ProudLiving on this new initiative, and we’re trying to make the world better – one pizza at a time.”
Outside of ProudLiving’s ongoing program to feed essential workers, the company has also remained present and active for its residents during the pandemic.
“We’re maintaining our promise to deliver first-class service to each and every member of the ProudLiving community and ensuring they’re provided with a place they can be proud to call home,” said Caleca.
According to Caleca, the team has made necessary adjustments to day-to-day responsibilities to maintain status quo. This includes frequent sanitization of buildings and office spaces, the use of face masks and gloves, and rotating staff in and out of office and renovation projects.
In the community, ProudLiving has also made new connections for future community involvement. This includes creating a youth girls basketball team to be led by East Orange firefighter Corey Baskerville, as well as donating almost 3 acres of land to the East Orange YMCA so that as many as 200 children can have access to summer camp amid recent state population restrictions.
The company also recently participated in the “Peace, But Not Patience Walk and Rally” organized by East Orange Mayor Ted Green and council. At the rally, which took place in front of town hall on June 10, ProudLiving volunteers set up stations to distribute cold drinks, snacks and Papa Pat’s pizzas to community participants.
“It is in times of challenge and controversy that our true character is tested”, said Caleca, “We see this as a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the people we serve, and to show them the character within this company and each of its employees. I believe that through mutual respect, acts of service and devotion to others, there is no limit to what we can achieve, together.”
Overall, ProudLiving Companies owns and manages over 1,000 multifamily units in northern New Jersey. The company also plans to break ground on the first phase of its pipeline of 5,000 new construction units across Essex and Union Counties in the fall of 2020.