Code Blue in Effect Monday Through Wednesday This Week
On Monday, the New Brunswick Police Department in conjunction with Elijah’s Promise put Code Blue into effect from Monday night until Thursday morning. On these and other nights when Code Blue is in effect, Elijah’s Promise, a soup kitchen serving the New Brunswick community, opens its doors for city residents without shelter between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m.
According to Jennifer Bradshaw, public information officer for the New Brunswick mayor’s office, Elijah’s Promise makes the decision to initiate a Code Blue because they provide the warming space necessary for the initiative. Code Blue is declared when the temperature falls below 20 degrees, or otherwise inclement weather like snow or freezing rain is expected for the area. Elijah’s Promise notifies city officials when it makes the decision to declare a Code Blue and the city posts an announcement with additional information to its social media platforms.
“We open up our facility after we normally close and allow people who are homeless to take refuge from the cold,” said Jim Zullo, Executive Director of Elijah’s Promise.
While waiting out the weather, guests are provided with snacks and warm beverages throughout the night. Along with providing food and shelter to those in need during a Code Blue, guests also have access to social services provided by the city and county.
“We use our kitchen as a place to connect people with various social services to the extent that they are seeking assistance,” said Zullo.
During a Code Blue and throughout their regular operating hours, Elijah’s Promise gives residents access to social workers and case workers who provide assistance with everything from housing needs and drug addiction services to primary health screenings, the latter provided in partnership with the Promise Clinic of Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Elijah’s Promise works in tandem with the city to help get those in need to the shelter when a Code Blue is declared. The city’s police and fire departments help get residents to the soup kitchen that may otherwise be unaware or unable to get there on their own.
“They will assist if there are residents who need help getting to the shelter, they know who these folks are who need these services,” said Jennifer Bradshaw, public information officer for the New Brunswick mayor’s office.
But the homeless are not the only residents who utilize the services offered by Elijah’s Promise on Code Blue nights and during regular operation. Many of their guests are working-poor residents of the city.
“There is no distinction, if you have a need and you want to communicate that need to us we will help you connect with various services in the county and city,” Zullo said.
Elijah’s Promise, located at 18 Neilson St. in New Brunswick, serves two meals a day to the city’s homeless and struggling residents. The soup kitchen is open 365 days a year and serves an estimated 100,000 meals per year.