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Mayors Pack Meals On Wheels In Ridgewood In Show Of Support

Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen and Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer in the kitchen at Christ Church in Ridgewood. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway, flanked by Community Meals volunteers, applauds the team effort during Mayors for Meals. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
The meals stacking up after the mayors pack them for transport. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Waldwick Mayor Thomas Giordano hard at work. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Teamwork among the four mayors. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen is all smiles as she sets out to deliver meals. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — In a show of support for Community Meals, Inc., four mayors on Wednesday morning packed up meals in Ridgewood to be delivered to homebound seniors.

The annual event in the Christ Church kitchen is called “Mayors for Meals.”

It highlights the community collaborations necessary to deliver nutritious, affordable meals to the homebound.

Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen, Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway, Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer and Waldwick Mayor Thomas Giordano snapped on plastic gloves and got to work.

“This is just like Shortway’s Barn,” quipped Shortway, referencing his longtime family business in Hawthorne.

“No different.”

The mayors spooned food and put lids on the special of the day: hamburgers with baby carrots and roasted potatoes.

This year’s event happened to coincide with proposed federal cuts in community block grants that fund the Meals on Wheels program.

Community Meals, Inc. is wholly a private endeavor with private funding, said Kim Mount, president of its board of directors.

But the cuts, if they go through, will still affect the nonprofit.

According to a statement released by Community Meals, 36 percent of the meals it delivers this year will be to fully subsidized clients who can’t afford to pay anything.

That means the group covers $34,000 worth of food so these residents can eat.

“Our volunteer board of directors works tirelessly to raise these funds,” the statement said.

Nonetheless, proposed healthcare and prescription cuts could mean Community Meals clients will have to pay more for those expenses.

“That will limit their funds to pay for meals,” Mount said. “So our subsidy costs would go up.”

The nonprofit has had a long-standing tradition of which it is proud: it has never turned away a client for financial reasons.

But the federal cuts may force it to do so.

Last year Community Meals, Inc. served up 25,000 meals to residents in seven towns — Allendale, Glen Rock, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Ridgewood, Waldwick and parts of Saddle River.

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