New Jersey Food Bank CEOs Make a Statement to Commend Members of the Legislature
As food banks, pantries, and individuals in need continue to struggle with historic inflation and the rising costs of food and transportation, this year’s New Jersey state budget provides critical funding for hunger-fighting programs. Across New Jersey’s five food banks, fuel costs are up 50%, food donations from community food drives are down 80%, food purchasing costs are up 36%, and freight costs have doubled. During the first three months of 2022, the number of people served by food pantries rose 43%, with a benefits cliff increasingly imminent. Subsidies that have eased administrative requirements for federal feeding programs while providing families with increased SNAP benefits and universal school meals are ending, putting even more people at risk of hunger.
In this context, we at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), Food Bank of South Jersey, Fulfill, Mercer Street Friends, and NORWESCAP are grateful that in this year’s budget, our state leaders have recognized the need for investment in food and nutrition programs to ensure that families, children, seniors, and those with disabilities will not go to bed hungry. This state budget truly reflects the understanding that our legislative leaders have of the complex and significant impacts of food insecurity in New Jersey. It recognizes the need for an increasing number of children from working families to have access to free school meals, increases access to healthy foods for seniors, provides increased assistance for senior and disabled households receiving some of the smallest SNAP benefit amounts, and so much more. We commend Governor Phil Murphy, Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, Senator Paul Sarlo, Assembly Member Eliana Pintor Marin, and the entire legislature for their leadership commitment to working toward a hunger-free Garden State. Once again, New Jersey leads the nation in innovative and practical policies to address food insecurity.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOODBANK OF NEW JERSEY
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a member of Feeding America®, has been delivering food, help, and hope across the state for more than 45 years. Last year, CFBNJ provided nutritious food for over 85 million meals through its network of more than 800 community partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and senior feeding programs throughout the 15 New Jersey counties it serves. For our hungry neighbors, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is the powerful agent of change that fills the emptiness caused by hunger and provides resources that are essential to earning a sustainable living.
ABOUT FULFILL FOOD BANK
Fulfill has been providing food for families at the Jersey Shore for more than thirty years. We supply over 972,000 meals per month by distributing food to nearly 300 feeding agencies in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, including soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters, and by delivering food to families, children, seniors, veterans, and more.
Fulfill also offers a suite of programs to connect people to the resources they need to become self-sufficient. Our team assists with applications for SNAP, affordable health care, and Medicaid. They also help with affordable housing applications, budgeting and money management, utility expenses, and senior services. To learn more about our programs or how to get involved, visit www.fulfillnj.org.
ABOUT MERCER STREET FRIENDS
As a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, Mercer Street Friends is dedicated to nourishing minds and bodies, empowering families and communities by providing comprehensive programs to address poverty and the physical and emotional trauma it creates for children, families and the community. Our programs focus on: food, families and education.
As the primary source of government and privately donated food, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank leads the community response to hunger in Mercer County. In 2020, the Food Bank channeled more than 5.5 million pounds of food to a network of more than 100 food pantries, shelters, school districts, soup kitchens, meal sites, senior centers, programs for the disabled and low-income housing sites. Throughout the year, Mercer Street Friends served over 100,000 individuals, providing 50,000 weekend Community Food Bags, totaling 800,000 weekend meals to families throughout the County.
Norwescap provides vital and life-sustaining services to over 30,000 individuals and families in need in Northwest New Jersey. Our programs include strategies that address the critical areas of education, health and wellness, employment, housing, volunteerism and financial empowerment. Since our inception, we have been dedicated to achieving the mission of creating opportunities to transform lives through innovative programs and partnerships. For more information, please visit www.norwescap.org.