M25 Initiative To Fund Showers for Those Dealing with Homelessness

The M25 Initiative Board of Trustees has launched a new grant program to assist nonprofits and churches in Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland to provide hot showers to individuals dealing with homelessness. The M25 Initiative will provide up to $15,000 ($5,000 per municipality) in grant funding beginning in January 2022.

“The M25 Initiative was founded on the mission of equipping and empowering individuals and groups in our community to care for our neighbors who are struggling,” said Ray Garcia, president of the M25 Initiative. “The shower program continues the work of assisting our neighbors…. We are proud to support the work of the nonprofits and churches that are providing a hot shower to those in need.”

“Where there is soap and water, there are smiles and hope,” said Dave Moore, president-elect and chair of the Community Transformation committee. “Providing a simple shower to a person in need can mean so much more than just soap and water.”

Interested nonprofits and churches in Cumberland County can learn more and apply at m25initiative.org/shower-program.html. The online application is due by December 1, 2021 at 5 p.m.

In addition to the shower grant program, the M25 Initiative has committed to providing $18,000 in funding to support the 2021-2022 Code Blue Warming Centers in Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland. Additionally, the M25 Initiative has recently distributed over $25,000 in food insecurity funding to assist nonprofits and churches in feeding those in need in Cumberland County. The M25 Initiative continues to fund the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative, which houses individuals and families dealing with chronic homelessness.

For more information: m25initiative.org or call 1-844-M25-HOPE.Testa Bill Would Allow Prior Infection to Satisfy Vaccine Requirement

Republican State Senators Joe Pennacchio and Michael Testa have introduced legislation that could allow a person’s naturally developed immunity resulting from a prior COVID-19 infection to satisfy vaccination requirements imposed on workplaces, schools, or any other entity in the state.

“We don’t think anyone should be discriminated against due to their vaccination status, personal health decisions, or desire for medical privacy,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “However, to the extent that Gov. Murphy and others have imposed burdensome vaccine mandates already, we believe those requirements should be based on science and recognize the significant protection and natural immunity that results from a person’s prior COVID-19 infection.”

The senators said a growing body of scientific evidence supports incorporating the consideration of natural immunity into public policy, which could impact nearly 1.2 million New Jerseyans who have had confirmed or likely cases of COVID-19, as reported by the state dashboard.

“Real people are being fired, kicked out of college, and discriminated against in various ways due to vaccine mandates imposed by Gov. Murphy and others,” said Vineland resident Testa (R-1). It’s modern segregation that’s not the least bit based on the latest science. Our bill is an effort to save more than a million New Jerseyans with natural immunity from unnecessary harm, discrimination, and compliance burden.”

Pennachio and Testa’s new legislation, S-4136, would allow entities to accept a person’s verbal confirmation that they have natural immunity due to a prior COVID-19 infection to satisfy any vaccination or testing requirement that may be imposed as a condition of employment or to receive services, participate in activities, attend school or college, or gain admission to a place or venue.

The bill would not supersede any federal laws, rules, or orders requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test result to enter facilities.

“To be clear, our legislation isn’t an endorsement of vaccine passports or of any other mandates or restrictions on New Jerseyans,” added Pennacchio. “We just believe the gross failure to account for natural immunity in current policy is so egregious it couldn’t be ignored.”

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