HomeMantua NewsMantua businesses team up to help those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

Mantua businesses team up to help those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

Bogey’s Club and Cade, BHR Contracting and Car Effex give away free meals to families on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Gloucester County Freeholder Jim Jefferson (second from right) joined employees from Bogey’s Club and Cafe, BHR Contracting and Car Effex on March 31 to help prepare and hand out free meals to families in need. The three Mantua-based businesses started this endeavor on March 26 to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now handing out about 500 meals per day every Tuesday and Thursday.

Bogey’s Club and Cafe was in the same situation as thousands of other New Jersey businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic heated up in mid-March.

A wedding and event venue and restaurant at the Pitman Golf Course in Mantua Township, Bogey’s closed on March 16 as social gatherings were banned and restaurants were prohibited from having dine-in customers. Owner Al Bartolomeo and his staff first had to reschedule numerous weddings and events scheduled for the coming weeks. Once that was done, Bartolomeo decided he wanted his business to do more.

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“We shifted to offense,” he said. “Let’s start doing good work.”

The following weekend, Bartolomeo spoke with fellow business owner Rob Layton, owner of BHR Contracting in Mantua, about a way to help out the community during the pandemic. Layton then reached out to another Mantua business owner and his brother, Michael Layton, the owner of Car Effex. Together the three are providing assistance to hundreds in the area.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m, Bogey’s provides local families in need with free meals. Bogey’s, BHR and Car Effex are all contributing to pay for meals provided for about 500 families.

BOGEY'S GIVING BACK 2020 – MEAL GIVEAWAYS

In response to the current health crisis, Bogey's is Giving Back by providing FREE meals to anyone in the community affected by COVID-19. Tuesday's and Thursday's from 1 pm – 3 pm, FREE meals will be distributed at Bogey's located on The Pitman Golf Course. Thank you to Our Partners: Car Effex, BHR ContractinContracting, Parke Bank Sewell, and @PreformanceFoodservice.

Posted by Bogey's on Monday, April 6, 2020

“We’d split the cost of food,” Rob Layton said in describing the arrangement between the three businesses. “It will help (Bogey’s) out and we’ll be able to provide seniors and students who are getting free lunches from the school that might need help for dinner, too.”

“There’s nothing positive about what is happening,” Bartolomeo added about the idea behind the initiative. “Food is kind of comforting (for people).”

The Layton brothers were on board to help out with the cause from the beginning. Rob and Michael’s youngest brother is Mantua Township Committeeman Shawn Layton, and the two had heard from Shawn about the need for meals in the community due to the pandemic.

“I realized it’s affecting everyone,” Michael Layton said. “There’s certain people that are living paycheck to paycheck that don’t have the means to get food for their family.”

The first free meals giveaway was held on Thursday, March 26. Rob expected the group to give away about 400 meals per day when the idea was first conceived. That 400-meal mark was easily reached on the first day. The following week, the group started giving out the meals on Tuesday and Thursday; the number of meals per day swelled to 500.

Bartolomeo described the free meal distribution as an orderly affair, with cones set up in the parking lot to create a queue for the vehicles.

“It’s very methodical,” Bartolomeo said. “They come and drive right up.”

Each meal is placed into its own separate container. A staff member places the containers into a bag and carries the bag to each vehicle as it drives up to the front door. The meals are either handed to a person in the vehicle through a window or placed in the trunk of the car. Residents who pick up a meal do not have to get out of their vehicles.

Rob Layton described the meals as restaurant quality, with the dish changing each day. One day spaghetti and meatballs were served; on another, chicken teriyaki.

“You listen to their stories and everyone seems grateful,” he said. “It’s not every day that you can go and get a restaurant-grade meal.”

Another amazing turnout yesterday at Bogey’s Club and Cafe. Bogey’s Fam, Car Effex, and BHR Contracting are so blessed…

Posted by Bogey's on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bartolomeo and Rob have both been on hand along with their employees for the meal distributions each day. Michael Layton is self-quarantining since his wife recently gave birth, but he’s made sure to have some of his employees involved on each of the distribution days. The initiative has left an impression on everyone involved.

“It makes you feel good,” Michael said. “Whatever we can do to help out the town and other businesses as well. It’s all for a good cause.”

“Some of the people working for us have never done anything like this,” Rob said. “It’s heart wrenching for them. They didn’t realize there’s people out there struggling to this extent.”

“We’re not out looking for accolades,” added Bartolomeo, who encouraged residents to offer their thanks to health care workers and first responders. “We’re just little guys trying to make a difference.”

The Easter Bunny greets families as they pull into the parking lot of Bogey’s Club and Cafe Thursday’s free meal distribution at Bogey’s Club and Cafe in Mantua Township. Bogey’s, BHR Contracting and Car Effex have teamed up to provide free meals to local families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now handing out about 500 meals per day every Tuesday and Thursday.

A couple of donations have come in since the meal program started. Parke Bank in Sewell donated $1,000 to the effort and Bartolomeo said an anonymous donor also gave some money. Performance Food Service, the food supplier for Bogey’s, has also helped out, donating more than 100 cases of food for the meal giveaways. Bartolomeo welcomed anyone who is willing to donate toward the cause to do so.

“The little coalition that we formed, we can put out 1,000-plus meals per week,” Bartolomeo said. “If we can get a little assistance, that would be a cool thing too.”

Bartolomeo and the Layton brothers recognize there is no set end date for the COVID-19 restrictions and there may be residents in need of meals for many weeks to come. While they hope social distancing and stay-at-home orders end sooner rather than later, they are also committed to providing meals for families in need.

“As far as I’m concerned … I’ll go as long as I have to go,” Bartolomeo said.

“I think that the plan is to do it as long as we can,” Michael added.

The free meals are distributed every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Bogey’s, located at the Pitman Golf Course on Pitman Road. Families do not need to leave their car to pick up the meal and no identification is required. Residents can reach out to Bogey’s at (856) 582-0160 for more information.

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