Hunger Action Month 2020: Food Bank of South Jersey Marks 150 Days of COVID-19 Response

September is Hunger Action Month.

During its first 150 days of COVID-19 hunger-relief response, the Food Bank of South Jersey’s journey to Hunger Action Month took on a greater significance – and impact – in its mission to feed South Jersey.

PENNSAUKEN, NEW JERSEY – As the Food Bank of South Jersey – South Jersey’s largest hunger-relief organization and a Feeding America food bank – recognizes Hunger Action Month this September, its continued COVID-19 hunger-relief response reaches more than 7.5 million meals served, over 9 million pounds of food resources distributed, 312,091 children’s meals served, more than 44,000 emergency food boxes packed and distributed and greater than 95,000 people each month provided with food since the organization’s COVID-19 response began in March of this year.

“This Hunger Action Month, the call for action – and call to alleviate hunger throughout South Jersey – is stronger and louder than ever,” reports Fred C. Wasiak, President & CEO, Food Bank of South Jersey.

Right now, throughout the United States, every community has households struggling with daily hunger. COVID-19 created a threat to American families, and families throughout the world, that targeted health, wellness and sustainability. Currently, Feeding America estimates that 54 million people may be food insecure in the United States right now, including 18 million children.

As a Feeding America food bank, the Food Bank of South Jersey, in the first 150 days of COVID-19 response, increased its capacity to serve an escalated food-insecure population by distributing more than 9 million pounds of food totaling over 7.5 million meals – breaking the organization’s previous food distribution records built over its 35 years of dedicated service to South Jersey. As the Food Bank of South Jersey records 150 days of accelerated hunger-relief efforts:

  • The Food Bank is experiencing a more than 44 percent increase of food distributed, to date, in 2020, as compared to the same time period last year – with the first half of 2019 showing a food distribution total of 6.9 million pounds, and the first half of 2020, including COVID-19 response, recording over 9 million total pounds in food distribution.
  • Currently, over 40 percent of participants attending the Food Bank’s emergency and regularly scheduled community food distributions continue to be first-time food bank recipients – driven to the Food Bank by the crushing economic and unemployment consequences of COVID-19.
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, the Food Bank of South Jersey remained in operation continuously, expanding and strengthening its capacity to distribute record high volumes of food throughout Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties.

“As Hunger Action Month comes into view, there is no sign of diminished need for hunger relief throughout South Jersey,” reports Wasiak. “Since the start of the our COVID-19 emergency food distribution response, scenes of residents waiting in line for food throughout Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties have presented a relevant, sobering and deeply real view of the pervasive and dire threat of hunger in our region – making Hunger Action Month 2020 the most crucial in years.”

Currently, the Food Bank of South Jersey’s COVID-19 hunger-relief response continues throughout Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties, serving more than 95,000 food-insecure people every month.

ABOUT FOOD BANK OF SOUTH JERSEY

Marking its 35th year in 2020, the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) is the leader in providing safe and nutritional food to people in need throughout South Jersey. FBSJ distributes food, provides nutrition education and cooking courses, and helps food-insecure families and seniors find sustainable ways to improve their lives. Throughout 2019, FBSJ distributed over 15 million pounds of food, more than 230,000 summer meals and over 17,500 senior food boxes, as well as serving 95 health and wellness programs to more than 11,700 residents.

For FBSJ, the task to stand strong for South Jersey as COVID-19 began disrupting life throughout the Garden State in March 2020 resulted in an operational and logistical restructuring to expand the organization’s power to fulfill a devastatingly sharp increase in food insecurity. With COVID-19 bringing school closures, stay-at-home orders, record-breaking unemployment and rising poverty, FBSJ within the first 150 days of response to the COVID-19 crisis distributed more than nine million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than seven million meals, throughout its four-county region of impact, including the distribution of more than 44,000 emergency food boxes to food-insecure populations, increasing its partner agency network to over 200 and serving over 95,000 food-insecure South Jersey residents each month, including the distribution of more than 312,091 nutritious breakfasts and lunches to more than 35,000 food-insecure South Jersey children.

Providing community impact through local support, FBSJ ensures that local donations stay local. FBSJ is a member of Feeding America, our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. To learn more, visit www.foodbanksj.org.