FREEHOLD, NJ – The 2020 Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) “New Jersey Healthy Town” winners have announced, with 22 towns across the state being recognized for its response to local needs created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Eight communities participating in the MWC, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, were named 2020 Healthy Town. Those include Asbury Park, Evesham Township, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Wildwood Crest and Woodbridge.
Freehold Borough was designated as one of nine 2020 Healthy Towns to Watch (with Bay Head, Denville, Franklin Lakes, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Jersey City, Norwood, and Vernon Township). Five others (Highlands, Lawrence Township, Morristown, Princeton and Willingboro) were designated as 2020 Up-And-Coming Healthy Towns.
Despite the challenges of starting a program during the pandemic, Freehold Borough was able to rise above and beyond to aid the needs of its residents.
Notably, a borough-wide initiative to address emerging food insecurity dubbed “Freehold Food Safety Net,” raised $27,000 in less than a week. Through the program, Freehold was able to:
- Provide 3,200 meals to students and families over spring break, when no school-based meals were available.
- Offer senior and homebound resident meals delivered by volunteers and purchased from Freehold Borough restaurants.
- Provide meals served by volunteers for families at Borough elementary and middle schools.
- Distribute more than 6,000 fresh produce boxes to residents on holidays and weekends, providing a series of 10 pop-up produce distribution events for 1,500 residents.
- Offer a 10-week voucher program at the Farmers Market, serving more than 700 people and providing nearly $37,000 in vouchers.
“My colleagues on the Borough Council and I wish to express our gratitude to the Quality Institute for naming Freehold Borough as a 2020 New Jersey Healthy Town to Watch,” said Mayor Kevin Kane in a news release.
“We are honored to have our efforts to create a great community recognized and we thank all of our partners, volunteers, staff and citizens for their role in advancing our initiatives to make Freehold Borough a model community to live, work, play and visit. We’re justifiably proud of our little town where we celebrate our diversity, respect and help each other, and work together to create a safe, healthy and progressive community where our children, our seniors, and our families can thrive and be happy.”
The Borough of Freehold is a first-time winner of the award.
Each year, communities participating in the Mayors Wellness Campaign complete a comprehensive Healthy Town Application outlining the research they’ve done to identify their community health needs and explaining how they have organized their local Mayors Wellness Campaign committee. The application also highlights the actions they’ve taken to make their communities healthier places to live, work, and play.
The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute developed the Mayors Wellness Campaign in 2006 to “empower” mayors across the state with tools, strategies and support to champion health and wellness. Over 400 communities are currently participating in the program.
Interested communities may contact Julie DeSimone, Program Officer, Mayors Wellness Campaign, at (or at to learn more.