ATLANTIC CITY — More than 1,000 Housing Authority seniors had free food delivered to their homes Wednesday and Thursday.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, provided water, milk, bread, vegetables and other essentials for the deliveries made to seniors, who may be afraid to leave their homes for fear of catching COVID-19, said Tom Hannon, executive director of the Atlantic City Housing Authority.
Earlier this week, a series of phone calls was made among Mayor Marty Small Sr., Council President George Tibbitt, the Volunteers of America and Anthony Brower, leader of the Friends in Action nonprofit, said Hannon, who also was included on the calls.
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They coordinated the first delivery to seniors in both Housing Authority and non-Housing Authority buildings, Hannon said.
The non-Housing Authority senior-living buildings that were part of the drop-off were the New York Avenue Apartments, 1313 Baltic, Community Haven, Best of Life and 101 Boardwalk, he said.
The city hopes to make deliveries to homebound seniors at least once a week depending on the availability of items from the food bank, Hannon said.
ShopRite and Cedar Basic Food also have offered to deliver foods to seniors, Hannon said.
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Issa Nammour, a member of the family that owns several Cedar Basic Food markets in the city, called Small and offered to deliver food to seniors, said Asad Nammour, Issa’s brother.
The Nammour family is looking for volunteers, possibly working for one of the city’s cab companies, who could donate time during a two- to three-hour window, Asad Nammour said.
The deliveries would be made from the Cedar Basic Food market at 1700 Baltic Ave.
It was hectic inside the Baltic Avenue store Monday, Nammour said Wednesday.
“We had four or five butchers working and two registers,” said Nammour, who added his lot was so full of cars that people were parking illegally on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. “It has calmed down. People are filled up now.”
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People have asked whether the store has closed or whether they cut down their hours, but they were still open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. as of Thursday. Merchandise, meats, groceries and water are still coming in, Nammour said.
“People, don’t panic,” said Nammour, who added seniors needing home deliveries will want water, bread, cold cuts, canned good and deli basics.
Paul Winkworth, owner of the Atlantic City Luxury Black Car Service, said using cab drivers to deliver food to homebound seniors sounds like a good idea to him.
Most of the drivers for Atlantic City Luxury Black Car Service are part time and have been affected by the closing of the casinos as a lot of their business is trips from Atlantic City International Airport, Philadelphia or New York City to the casinos, Winkworth said.
Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, whose 3rd Ward contains the Cedar Basic Food market on Baltic Avenue, said he would welcome Cedar’s help.
Additionally, St. James A.M.E. Church volunteers distribute bags of food on the fourth Thursday of each month, Shabazz said.
People interested in volunteering to drive food to homebound seniors in the resort can call Cedar Basic Food at 609-428-7595.