June 30, 2021
STATEMENT FROM FRED C. WASIAK, PRESIDENT & CEO, FOOD BANK OF SOUTH JERSEY, ON STATE OF NEW JERSEY BUDGET PROVISIONS FOR VITAL HUNGER-RELIEF FUNDING
After the last recession, food security rates took nearly a decade to return to prior levels, and in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of our neighbors struggled to put food on the table for themselves and their families. We know that an improving economy may not mean a return to food security for those who have accrued back rent or other debt that will be coming due, whose jobs were eliminated, or who can no longer find work with the equivalent hours and wages as they had prior to the pandemic.
We praise New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s decision to move forward with this vital legislation so that we may feed our communities – nourish our children – and feed the future of South Jersey. We applaud Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin for championing this necessary legislation and we thank the Assembly and Senate for recognizing the imperative need to make accessible life-sustaining food to our communities.
The creation of the new Office of Food Insecurity Advocate, which will consolidate responsibility of food aid oversight, increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) accessibility through creation of a mobile app, and supplemental meal program funding of 10 cents per meal for school children.
The Food Bank of South Jersey remains committed to our strategic initiatives, including expanding procurement of food, developing resources to align with the growth of hunger-relief programs, serving as an official SNAP Outreach vendor to educate, facilitate and connect eligible recipients with SNAP benefits and do all we can to ensure no household suffers the devastation of hunger.
Hunger is a public health crisis. We celebrate this commitment to hunger relief to prioritize equitable access to nutritious, healthy food for all who call the State of New Jersey home.
ABOUT THE FOOD BANK OF SOUTH JERSEY
Marking its 36th year in 2021, 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 2020, with COVID-19 bringing school closures, stay-at-home orders, record-breaking unemployment and rising poverty, FBSJ distributed more than 22.5 million pounds of food – the equivalent of over 18.7 million meals – throughout its four-county region of impact: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties, increasing its partner agency network to over 210 and serving over 95,000 food-insecure South Jersey residents each month. During 2020, the Food Bank of South Jersey distributed over one million emergency food boxes in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and elevated its child feeding program from approximately 300,000 children’s meals distributed during 2019 to over 950,000 children’s meals distributed to the region’s most food-vulnerable youths. FBSJ is a member of the Feeding America network of national food banks. Visit www.foodbanksj.org. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, follow the Food Bank of South Jersey @foodbankSJ.