“I thought it was a blessing for them to come and take part. And they committed to doing it more than one time. There’s definitely a need,” April Finley, who manages Table of Hope at Morristown’s Bethel AME Church, said on Thursday.
Beyer Ford delivered meats, produce, canned goods, fruit and more–six bags of groceries for per recipient–to seniors complexes on Early and Ann streets and several homes.
“They were so grateful, and so surprised by the amount of food they were getting,” said Bridget Beyer, a principal owner of the Morris Township dealership. “To be part of that, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Beyer Ford is a member of the Do-Good Auto Coalition, a national consortium of dealers pitching in to help their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
When Bridget Beyer mentioned her interest in assisting seniors, her friend Kelly Montes of Morristown suggested the Table of Hope.
Every Thursday afternoon, Table of Hope provides groceries to people in need. Some 264 were served on this day. Most came to the church for curbside pickup.
Beyer Ford made sure the rest — seniors at greatest risk from the virus–got their provisions without having to venture out in public.
Table of Hope has its own school bus for Friday food deliveries to Parsippany and Dover. But Finley’s volunteers had their hands full on Thursday, and could not roll out the bus.
There were so many grocery bags that Beyer Ford wound up sending two shuttle vans.
Groceries are courtesy of the New Jersey Food Bank in Hillside, Acme of Morris Plains, and Trader Joe’s of Florham Park and Denville.
Soup kitchen volunteers also prepare 80- to 100 meals-to-go every weeknight, Finley said. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown and Liquid Church, among others, have continued to lend a hand throughout the crisis, she said.
If any organization is battle-hardened for the pandemic, it’s Table of Hope. It has overcome desperate financial challenges several times since its founding in 2013 by Bethel Pastor Sidney Williams Jr. and his wife Teresa, of the nonprofit Spring Street Community Development Corp.
Finley is doing her best to stay upbeat.
“Everybody is staying healthy thus far, thank God,” she said.
Beyer also is striving to remain optimistic. Her family enterprise, which includes Beyer Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, is considered an essential business by Gov. Phil Murphy. The dealerships have been performing maintenance on ambulances and State Police vehicles.
Video: Do-Good Automotive Coalition features Beyer Ford
But the general public is not thinking about oil changes and tuneups, even with dealer pickup and sanitized delivery. Car sales?
“My sales force got cut a few weeks ago,” Bridget Beyer said. Her total staff has shrunk from 120 employees to 50 since the pandemic brought down the economy.
While this crisis is unlike any other of the last century, Beyers businesses have weathered other storms, including the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Their automotive group, which includes Fleet, an East Hanover company specializing in police cars, evolved from Beyer Brothers, a bicycle repair shop founded in 1914.
Bridget Beyer said she is heartened by acts of goodwill throughout Greater Morristown, where she has tried to do her part since her family bought the dealerships from the Warnock family in 2011.
Beyer has delivered personal protective equipment and fruit to Morristown Medical Center during the pandemic.
Every year, her team frames a house for Habitat for Humanity, and co-sponsors the Morristown Onstage benefit for the Morris School District. Her two children attend district schools.
“It’s a wonderful community,” said the Morris Township resident.
Her vans were available Thursday; she was happy to put them to good use. Helping others is an antidote to helplessness, she believes.
“We’ll figure it out,” Beyer said of the future. “Surrender, and prayer. That’s all you can do right now.”