Elijah’s Promise Works Overtime This Winter to Keep Residents Fed and Warm


By: Katie Ghilino

With more than 30 Code Blues being called in New Jersey this winter, warming centers and kitchens such as Elijah’s promise in New Brunswick, are seeing an influx of homeless residents come in for food and shelter.

Elijah’s Promise is open Monday-Friday from 11am to 7pm and from 1 to 4 in the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays serves more than 90,000 meals annually. According to Executive Director, Jim Zullo, this has been a very difficult winter.

“We’ve had 15 to 20 percent more Code Blues this winter than last,” he said. “There have been 20 to 25 people a night. It’s very, very frigid this winter.”

Code Blues are called when the temperature is expected to drop below 20 degrees or snowfall is expected to exceed six inches. Zullo said that when Juno was expected to hit New Jersey hard at the end of January, Elijah’s Promise saw nearly 40 people come in for food and shelter.

“It allows people who are homeless to come in and get out of the cold so they’re not staying in the parks or at the train station,” he said.

With one of the coldest winters in recent memory almost over, Zullo said they have received assistance from Middlesex County and the city of New Brunswick during these demanding past few months. The county helps to provide funding for the community kitchen while the city of New Brunswick spreads the word about Elijah’s Promise which has multiple supporters. They receive grants and individual donations which are needed more than ever during the winter months.

Zullo explained the importance of this support. “We rely on these so the kitchen is able to remain staffed overnight and warm for those who come by.”

The community kitchen serves two meals a day with a salad and soup bar open in between meals so those who stop by always have something to eat.