In April, Hamilton’s Cedar Gardens banquet hall made a promise to donate 10,000 meals to frontline workers, first responders, and soup kitchens, as well as seniors and families in need.

Cedar Gardens—in partnership with Buy-Rite and the Sarala Bathena Foundation—has donated more than 5,000 meals so far.

Hamilton Buy-Rite owner AJ Bathena (right) stands with meals from Cedar Gardens donated to Temple University Hospital.

On Saturday, June 6, the remaining meals will be available for members of the community in what Cedar Gardens is calling a “food drive.” Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., meals can be picked up at the Cedar Gardens banquet facility, at 661 Route 33 in Hamilton. Service will be curbside, where Cedar Gardens staff members will place the meals you want in your trunk. While the focus is on frontline workers, first responders and those in need, everyone is welcome, said AJ Bathena the owner of Hamilton Buy-Rite on Route 33.

Executive orders forced the Cedar Garden banquet hall closed in March. The kitchen reopened in April, with the idea to donate thousands of meals across the region. Bathena said thousands of dollars from his eight family-owned stores have been donated to the foundation and banquet hall so that staff could be rehired and meals could be prepared.

Meals have been donated throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including to Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, HomeFront, Temple Health Hospital in Philadelphia, Jersey City Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Hamilton, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Capital Health Medical Center in Pennington, Saint Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton and Chelsea Senior Living in East Brunswick.

“The COVID-19 virus has devastated many communities in NJ and our thoughts are with all of those families who have suffered,” Bathena said. “We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for your continued support and patience, during these unprecedented times.”