March 5, 2022
BURLINGTON CITY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–On Saturday March 5th, VILLAGES Community Marketplace celebrated its Groundbreaking Ceremony in Burlington County. Guest speakers including New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton, Amazon Site Leader Gregory Keel, Burlington City Mayor Barry Conaway, Burlington City Police Chief John Fine, Reverend Dr. Hilda Covington, and community residents, addressed this milestone for The Opportunity League. VILLAGES Community Marketplace has been in motion since 2019, and will serve as a local grocery market, place for engagement and community connection – it also removes obstacles to employment, education, and fresh affordable food.
Gregory Keel, Amazon site leader, spoke to Amazon’s investment and continued involvement with public service around the VILLAGES Community Marketplace project, and expressed admiration for The Opportunity League’s mission of building strong partnerships and tackling the plague of food insecurity.
“Amazon believes in working through the community and doing work at the local level. Through all the projects we did back in the fall with Sisterhood, Inc., The Opportunity League, projects over in Florence for the high school with some of the charter schools – it’s that groundwork, it’s the work within the community where we really get to work together to change and have a positive impact.”
“To The Opportunity League, congratulations for this venture. Thank you for all the work, thank you for supporting us early…You guys walked right in with open arms, and it’s been a great partnership since.”
Seigha Omuso, Founder and Executive Director, The Opportunity League, outlined the impact that the new center will have on the local community, and expressed gratitude for the organizations that have helped make the VILLAGES Community Marketplace a reality.
“Today is a major milestone for us to be able to come together as a village, because it takes a village…More than our thanks, I think the community and the folks here cannot thank you all enough in the efforts that you have made to make sure that this comes to fruition.”
New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton thanked The Opportunity League, local officials, and Amazon for their time and effort in collaborating to bring new opportunities to Burlington.
“I’m honored to be with [The Opportunity League] as always. My friend Barry Conaway, my friend Chief Fine, are always working in collaboration with their leadership to make things like this possible. To Greg, Shanisha, and everyone from Amazon who are always out there doing what’s necessary to be community-centric and community-focused, thank you for the work that you do.”
“This is exactly the type of project we want to see in Burlington City, Burlington County, and all across New Jersey… Undoubtedly, The Opportunity League will bring new life to this site.”
Burlington City Mayor Barry Conaway welcomed the program to the neighborhood and expressed excitement for its future impact.
“New Yorkshire, Burlington City, this is a great day. We want to thank the Opportunity League, the fantastic husband and wife team, and their partnership for bringing this to 200 E. Federal Street….None of this would have happened without the work between The Opportunity League, their partners, and the city council.”
Of note, Nisha Ray, area manager at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Florence, devoted large portions of her life to affecting positive change in Burlington – she served a key role in Saturday’s event.
Amazon proudly contributed to the project by way of a $50,000 donation and will continue to be involved with public service around this project. In addition, the Burlington County Food Access Network (BC-FAN) presented awards to Senator Troy Singleton, Mayor Barry Conaway, and Amazon for their commitment and support of the VILLAGES Community Marketplace. This effort in Burlington County is a priority to Amazon and its local team, just as setting local roots in communities in which we live and work are.
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