By Emily Young

PATERSON, N.J. – Roughly 1,000 meals are given out every day at Eva’s Village in Paterson.

“We’ve seen people that never needed our services before that are coming out for lunch,” said David Bein, director of food services, at Eva’s.

“Originally, there’s shame and feelings they’re having, but we try to make everyone feel welcome here. We treat everyone the same way.”

The need is overwhelming.

“Since the pandemic, and even before, we are challenged when it comes to being a food desert to many residents,” Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly said.

“But the challenge of food insecurity, you add that on with unemployment and the COVID-19 virus, it becomes that much more important, almost 10 -times more important to get healthy meals to our residents.”

But they aren’t the only ones suffering.

“They’re the ones really hurting, those small businesses,” Bein said. “The non-corporate restaurants, the mom-and-pops like they say, and those are the ones we need to survive, because those are the ones that give us our unique culture and unique flavors of Paterson.”

Like FastBreak Cafe in Paterson, which opened its doors for the very first time back in February, and let’s just say things haven’t been easy.

In an effort to be a lifeline to suffering small business and individuals, Soup Kitchen 411, and the Indian Federation from the Rotary Club in Wayne, teamed up to sponsor a meal, purchasing 300 orders from FastBreak Cafe and 500 orders of Indian food from a restaurant in Edison.

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