Three Friends Who Grew Up in Perth Amboy Help Supply Food to the Community’s Thousands of Families in Need

Three longtime friends are taking action to help Perth Amboy families who need hunger relief. Kenny Ortiz, director of Perth Amboy’s Department of Human Services; Eddie Trujillo, co-owner of Supremo Food Markets; and Irving Lozada, the city’s acting director of code enforcement, are drawing on their resources, contacts and skills to feed thousands of families. The trio of friends are providing groceries to thousands of Perth Amboy families who are struggling because wage earners have lost their jobs or are working fewer hours because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenny, Eddie and Irving share a long history of working together to help the Perth Amboy community. The trio’s activities clearly show that the spirit of sharing remains very much alive and thriving in the City of Perth Amboy during ongoing the coronavirus crisis.

Mayor Wilda Diaz and Barry Rosengarten, who chair the nonprofit Perth Amboy COVID Help group, are assisting Kenny, Eddie and Irving. The community-based, not-for-profit Perth Amboy COVID Help organization is actively requesting donations from corporations, small businesses and individuals. The group is raising $100,000 to purchase large quantities of food for the city’s families.

Companies and individuals may contribute to the cause now by simply clicking on the “Donate” button above. You may also send your contribution to Perth Amboy COVID Help, P.O. Box 999, Perth Amboy, N.J. 08862. Please make checks payable to CPA COVID-19 HELP.

Here is a brief overview about how Eddie, Irving and Kenny are leading a united effort to help Perth Amboy families during COVID-19 crisis and its lingering aftereffects.

Supremo Food Markets Makes Huge Commitment to Supply 2,000 Cartons of Groceries

As the crisis deepened, Eddie Trujillo and Benjamin Parra, his partner at Supremo Food Markets, agreed to supply 2,000 cartons of groceries to households in Perth Amboy. The total value of the contributions exceeds $50,000, and Supremo Food Markets, which has 12 supermarkets, is aided by its generous food distributors, suppliers and wholesalers.

Supremo Food Market has set aside a corner of its Perth Amboy supermarket where employees and volunteers pack 50 boxes a day from Monday to Friday. In the late morning, volunteer drivers, recruited and coordinated by Kenny and Irving, arrive, load the cartons into their cars and bring the food to deserving families.

Each carton contains cooking oil and vinegar, a bag of rice, a box of macaroni, cans of beans and corn, bags of apples/oranges and limes, a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, chicken parts, sliced ham and cheese, bags of potatoes and onions, and soft drinks.

Mr. Trujillo said, “Our market and my family reach out to help people in need all the time. The Supremo Food team is helping pack boxes along with my sons, Eddie Jr., Sebastian and Christian.”

Trujillo’s sons help sort, organize and pack cartons of groceries, and then boxes are loaded into vehicles. Supremo Food will be providing the provisions to households for the next 40 days.

Trujillo went on to explain that Supremo Food’s suppliers, dairies, bakeries, food distributors and grocer wholesalers are supporting the supermarket’s efforts as well. The list of participating food companies includes:

Cream-O-Land Dairy – milk and cheese
Quaker Valley Foods – chicken and ham
RBest Produce – fruit, onions and potatoes
Tropical Cheese – variety of cheese products

Grocery Donations Began with Bodegas, and then Local Companies Stepped in to Help

Irving Lozada started distributing food in early March as families began sheltering-in-place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Workers began losing jobs as local businesses closed and more households faced food shortages. Irving relied on the social media communities and began reaching out to families in Spanish, asking the simple question, “Who needs food, now?”

He took action as the Facebook post produced a growing list of requests for groceries. To meet the demand, he enlisted neighborhood groceries and bodegas willing to contribute food. Volunteers packed the donated supplies that were brought to people in need.

To date, Irving’s team of volunteers has delivered cartons of food and basic supplies to more than 1,900 families. As the list of families seeking food grew, Ralph Mendes, founder and CEO of Perth Amboy-based Tropical Cheese, contributed funds, which helped keep food flowing to families struggling to feed their households.

Similarly, many small businesses and individuals have donated food and cash that have gone to families who have run out money and whose shelves and refrigerators are almost empty.

Irving explained that many caring people have stepped forward to aid their neighbors during this coronavirus crisis. “Many people have told us they had run out of hope, their children were hungry and then one of our volunteers arrived with a carton of food. They felt blessed,” he said.

Giving Back to the Community Began Years Ago

For many years, Eddie and Irving joined with Jerry Yaros at the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry in Perth Amboy on Thanksgiving Day . The group purchased, prepared and served turkeys with all the trimmings to more than 850 grateful people. Eddie said, “We had two separate groups come and enjoy a complete Thanksgiving dinner.”

Irving explained, “Hundreds of grateful families arrived for the late morning meal. Later in the day a new group of hundreds more arrived to this celebration, which was an incredible and very gratifying volunteer effort to feed our community.”

Contribute to Perth Amboy COVID Help

Companies and individuals may contribute now by simply clicking on the “Donate” button above or below. You may also send your contribution to:

Perth Amboy COVID Help
P.O. Box 999
Perth Amboy, N.J. 08862

Donors are asked to make their checks payable to CPA COVID-19 HELP.

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