In 2015, friends Ken DeRoberts and Phillip Gentile establishedthe non-profit organizationSoupKitchen411, Inc. to serve as a hub for anti-hunger advocates to raise awareness about the epidemic of food insecurity in America and as a database of soup kitchens and other places where free meals are regularly served. The free online database at SoupKitchen411.com utilizes interactive maps to provide detailed information such as hours of operation and contact information for 250+ tri-state area, and over 700 national soup kitchens and food pantries.
In April 2020, amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SoupKitchen411 launched the FeedNJ campaign that contracts bulk meals from New Jersey restaurants to be distributed to their local soup kitchens. SoupKitchen411 holds a Platinum rating byGuidestar, the highest-offered.
FeedNJ is an aggressive campaign and the flagship program run by Platinum-rated nonprofit SoupKitchen411 to fight COVID-19-impacted food insecurity and keep struggling restaurants across New Jersey afloat by purchasing nutritious meals from them in bulk that are thereafter distributed to local soup kitchens. To date, the FeedNJ campaign has served over 60,000 meals purchased from local restaurants which have been served at soup kitchens and collective spaces for free, and plans to expand operations to all 21 New Jersey counties in 2021.
Funding for FeedNJ comes from private foundations including Walmart, Phillips66, Amazon, RWJ Barnabus Health, the Raul Esquivel Family Trust and over 30 more. In February 2021, FeedNJ received a $150K grant from Middlesex County and a $2M EDA Sustain and Serve grant expand its programming. By the end of July 2020, these funds will enable the FeedNJ program to purchase over 250,000 meals from local restaurants.