We work with 250 food pantries in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties to provide healthy foods to families in need. If you are in need of assistance, please look for a pantry in your county. CLICK HERE TO FIND A FOOD PANTRY.
Our mobile pantry, the Hope Mobile, carries truckloads of food to “food deserts” – those areas that lack access to a viable network of food sources as well as to foods that comprise a well-balanced, nutrient- rich diet. Potential families must bring a photo ID and proof of income to the Hope Mobile distribution to apply for the program. Click here to learn more and view our calendar.
About Hunger in South Jersey
Research and Education
2014 Hunger in America Study – see the latest hunger study information from Feeding America about hunger in the United States, New Jersey, and how Food Bank of South Jersey helps.
Hunger is associated with numerous problems—among them are obesity, diabetes, chronic diseases like asthma, higher levels of depression, diminished work productivity, poor concentration, and more.
For children who experience hunger, these problems are compounded by stunted development of the brain that can lead to learning disabilities, low academic
achievement, behavior problems, sudden mood changes, school absenteeism, hyperactivity, and greater instances of aggression and bullying.
Food insecure children are those children living in households struggling to put food on the table. Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect the need to make trade-offs between important basic needs like housing, medicine, heat, etc., and nutritionally adequate food.
Hunger impacts children from the moment they are conceived. Babies who are born undernourished are often too small. Hunger leads to poor immune systems and sicker children. It impairs physical and developmental growth. Hungry children need more sleep, have less energy, and may never catch up to their well-fed peers when it comes to learning.
Child Hunger in South Jersey
Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties are home to 196,000 food insecure people that cannot afford to eat nutritiously on a regular basis. In the four-county area, 18.1% of our children face food insecurity. Unfortunately, according to the Map the Meal Gap study initiated by Feeding America, 44% of those 57.000+ children likely do not qualify for assistance from federal nutrition programs.
Map the Meal Gap
The Map the Meal Gap study was initiated by Feeding America to provide food banks with information about the people they support at the local community level.
Typically the number of people falling below the federal poverty threshold has been used to identify the need for food on a local level. However, national food insecurity data reveal that about 45% of those struggling with hunger actually have incomes above the federal poverty level and 53% of poor households are food secure. Thus, measuring need based on local poverty rates alone provides an incomplete illustration of the potential need for food assistance within our communities.
In New Jersey, Map the Meal Gap shows that 13.1% of people living in the counties assisted by the Food Bank of South Jersey—Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem—face food insecurity. That means we have over 196,000 hungry people in South Jersey, where the average meal is calculated to cost $2.68.
Emergency Food Requests
The Food Bank of South Jersey has been hard at work at responding to millions of food requests every year. According to the most recent Feeding America data:
- 36% of the members of households are children under 18 years old.
- 30% of the members of households are children age 0 to 5 years.
- 10% of the members of households are elderly.
- 39% of households include at least one employed adult.
- 73% have incomes below the federal poverty level during the previous month.
- 3% are homeless.
The Difficult Choice
- 40% of clients served by the Food Bank of South Jersey report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.
- 36% had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage.
- 34% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
In 2016 the Food Bank of South Jersey distributed over 11 million pounds of food, responding to more than 1 million requests for food. Much of this food was distributed through the more than 250 partners (soup kitchens, food pantries, rescues and homeless shelters) as well as our direct services programs that target the most fragile and vulnerable groups – children and the elderly.
In addition to our food distribution efforts, nutrition education is a critical part of our mission. Our Cooking Matters classes, which are part of our Healthy Living Initiative, use hands-on, interactive cooking classes to teach young and old the medical and health advantages of a balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods.
The Food Bank of South Jersey is an important source of food for charitable feeding programs, accounting for 75% of the food used by pantries, 57% of the food used by soup kitchens, and 48% of food needed at homeless shelters. In many cases, we are the last hope for these organizations and, without our support, many of these programs to help the hungry would shut down.