PENNSAUKEN, NEW JERSEY – Sharing the Food Bank of South Jersey’s mission to bring hunger relief to Gloucester County’s most food-vulnerable families and children, the United Way of Gloucester County, a longtime friend and supporter of the Food Bank, granted $20,000 to strengthen the organization’s community hunger-relief impact including child feeding, school pantry and emergency food distribution initiatives serving Gloucester County.
“We are deeply grateful for the vital support that the United Way of Gloucester County has given us to strengthen us in our fight against food insecurity in Gloucester County, particularly with a focus on alleviating child food insecurity and youth hunger,” reports Fred C. Wasiak, President and CEO, Food Bank of South Jersey.
During 2020, the Food Bank of South Jersey distributed nearly 2.5 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than two million meals, to a food-insecure population that swelled more than 60 percent from one in every 13 to one in every eight residents struggling with food insecurity.
For children in Gloucester County, during 2020, the food-insecurity rate rose from one in every nine children to one in every five children.
“Our mission is to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger by providing food to people in need, teaching them to eat nutritiously and helping them to find sustainable ways to improve their lives,”
reports Robyn Lockett, Senior Manager of Direct Service Programs for the Food Bank of South Jersey.
As the Food Bank of South Jersey continues forward, the organization is committed to increasing its our procurement of food, resources to align with the growth of hunger-relief programs, establishing satellite distributions to increase access to food resources to the least developed and most isolated communities we serve and working to ensure no child in Gloucester County lives in a home devoid of food.
Feeding Gloucester County
Funds from the United Way of Gloucester County grant were used in support of three programs benefitting children and their families in Gloucester County, with emphasis on child feeding and school pantry initiatives. With a focus on child feeding, Mobile Meals, serving Gloucester County children through Summer Meals initiatives, delivered breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners to out-of-school children during the summer – a program that is operating year-round since the pandemic began, and federal rules and restrictions were eased.
For the entire grant period, starting July 2020 to June 2021, more than 500 children each month were fed, fueled by nearly 7,500 pounds of food. The School Pantry Program had an average monthly attendance of nearly 500 families (990 adults, 930 children), with a total of 125,000 pounds of food distributed. Mobile Meals – which delivered multiple meals at a time, for children and their families to pick up and take home – served more than 121,60 meals. All figures are for Gloucester County alone, one of the most hunger-impacted counties in New Jersey throughout the pandemic.
The Food Bank of South Jersey serves Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties.
ABOUT 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 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. 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. During 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 four-county region of impact, increasing its partner agency network to over 200 and serving over 95,000 food-insecure South Jersey residents each month, including the distribution of nearly one million nutritious breakfasts and lunches to South Jersey’s food-insecure children and youths. To learn more, visit www.foodbanksj.org. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, follow the Food Bank of South Jersey @foodbankSJ.