Amazon Opens Fulfillment Center, Donates To Food Bank

Amazon General Manager Doug Chamberlin with a $40,000 check for Franklin Food Bank on behalf of the new Amazon fulfillment center. (Photo by Frank H. Conlon)

A large donation from one of the township’s newest businesses will help relieve some of the uncertainty felt by the Franklin Food Bank.

That was the word from Frank Hasner, the Food Bank’s executive director, after Amazon Inc.’s $40,000 cash donation announced on December 14.

The donation was made in conjunction with the December 13 opening of Amazon’s 600,000-square-foot fulfillment center at Weston Canal and Randolph roads.

“This is a fantastic donation that is coming at a particularly good time,” Hasner said in an email. “The Food Bank is faced with a lot of uncertainty going forward. We anticipate increased need as clients are faced with issues such as possible evictions, uncertainty about unemployment insurance and general economic conditions.”

Hasner said donors have been generous, but difficult times may still await the Food Bank in 2021.

“Our donors have stepped up to help us through these difficult times but more than likely we will not be able to run our typical fundraisers in 2021 and even our supporters may face economic hard times,” he wrote in the email. “A $40,000 donation almost covers a month’s expenses for the food bank.”

“A donation like this allows us to look at some food options that may not be available otherwise,” Hasner wrote. “The biggest concern we have at the Food Bank is uncertainty, this donation gives us a little buffer.”

Vince Dominach, the township’s economic development director, lauded the Amazon opening.

“The opening of the Amazon fulfillment center with  several thousand new jobs for local residents is an incredible new ratable and  is another  prime example of how the Franklin Township Council’s commitment and focus on economic development has greatly benefited its citizens and shown business and industry worldwide that Franklin Township is the place to locate,” he wrote in an email.

With several hundred hires on hand on opening day, Amazon expects to hire up to 2,500 employees at the center, according to a press release about the opening. The employees’ salaries start at $15.75, and immediate benefits include full medical, vision, and dental insurance as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent match.

Township Councilman Ram Anbarasan (D-At Large) said in the release that “Amazon’s presence in Franklin is creating a significant number of job opportunities for our residents and will stimulate our local economy as well. We welcome Amazon to our wonderful town and wish all the new employees much success.”

 Amazon and the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board have scheduled another virtual job fair for the fulfillment center at 11 a.m. January 5, 2021. The deadline to register is January 3, registration can be done by clicking here.

Interested candidates can learn more about the virtual hiring process and apply online at amzn.to/JobsNJ.

Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $14.5 billion across New Jersey, including infrastructure (16 fulfillment and sortation centers, 18 delivery stations, one Amazon Books store, one Amazon Hub Locker, and 21 Whole Foods Market locations) and compensation, according to the release.

These investments have contributed and additional $14.7 billion to the New Jersey economy and have helped create more than 30,000 indirect jobs – from construction and logistics to professional services – on top of Amazon’s direct hires, the release said. In addition, more than 49,500 independent authors and small and medium businesses are selling to customers in Amazon’s store, creating thousands of additional jobs across the state, the release said.

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