A Taste of Compassion

A publication of the Food Bank of South Jersey • Fall 2021 Edition


Getting to the Root of South Jersey Hunger

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

IMPROVING LIVES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS

We know this won’t be easy.
For 36 years, The Food Bank of South Jersey has learned that food insecurity for our South Jersey neighbors often arises because of many different circumstances, many beyond their control. The elevated hunger in our area, because of the pandemic, is a perfect example of a confluence of issues that were unexpected.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF SOUTH JERSEY HUNGER

Every day, there is hunger in South Jersey.
The Food Bank of South Jersey, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, has provided nearly two million meals to a swelling population of food-insecure children throughout our region – over 60,000 children living with the daily threat of hunger.

FIGHTING HUNGER: ONE MOTHER’S STORY

When Camden County resident Gina Lombardo gave birth to her second daughter earlier this year, she was overjoyed. Though life presented challenges – Gina was unable to work due to her pregnancy and her fiancé struggled to find full-time employment – she was determined to keep her household abundant with food for her growing family, which includes her beautiful grade-schooler, Charlotte.

STAY ENGAGED

We know times have been hard, and we are fueled by your continuous support and loyalty! Despite typical in-person opportunities being restricted, there are still plenty of ways to stay safely involved.

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IMPROVING LIVES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS

We know this won’t be easy. For 36 years, The Food Bank of South Jersey has learned that food insecurity for our South Jersey neighbors often arises because of many different circumstances, many beyond their control. The elevated hunger in our area, because of the pandemic, is a perfect example of a confluence of issues that were unexpected.

We recently released an Equity Statement that is a call for the formation of a hunger-free South Jersey, one that will further explore why hunger exists within Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties. While we continue to focus on increasing food security and teaching nutrition education in the communities we serve, we will also explore new and innovative sustainable solutions that promote equitable outcomes.

We will work with partners in the community to examine issues around economic mobility, access to healthcare resources, affordable housing, financial wellness and other issues that impact hunger. We will do this by:

  • Bringing people together to amplify awareness of key issues that are often barriers to food security.
  • Committing to working with community partners on solutions that look at education, health access and new economic opportunities.

We invite you to walk with us as we move into the New Year ahead, with amplified energy to fight hunger not only in our neighborhoods today, but for the betterment of each of our tomorrows.

Yours in gratitude, safety and care,


 Fred C. Wasiak
 President & CEO

 

  Megan Shea
  Board of Trustee Chairperson

EQUITY STATEMENT
Our 36 year history providing food and promoting healthy eating in South Jersey has taught us that the challenge of hunger is often rooted in a system of racial, gendered and financial inequity. These issues are embedded in the barriers often raised by systemic racism. We have an affirmative and continued responsibility to create and support equitable outcomes for those we serve. We know this focus on social justice is a transformation from where we have come as a charitable organization. Our goal is to take action and make impactful contributions through:

    • Our programs – we will build connections to workforce development opportunities, educational resources and financial inclusion within our local community by embracing a community-led vision that will be based on mutual respect.
    • Our public positions – we will build and/or strengthen partnerships with our community partners so that we can work authentically to dismantle social injustice within our sphere of influence and advocate for equity in areas outside of food insecurity as well.
    • Our people – we will work to ensure that our practices also promote equity and inclusion within the organization— specifically in our recruiting, hiring and promoting staff at FBSJ.

Our goal is to ensure that everyone feels heard, respected and valued as we recognize that privilege, unconscious bias and racial, ethnic and financial injustice affects our team members and those within the communities we serve.

SUSTAINABILITY 2021: 4 STEPS TO FOOD EQUITY

1. FUNDING FOOD PATHWAYS:
The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) has established a Sustainability Fund in response to its commitment to create long-term sustainability and financial stability for the leading source of charitable and governmental food assistance for South Jersey residents experiencing food insecurity.

2. CAMDEN FOOD SECURITY:
Building off a decade of collective work led by Campbell Soup Company through the Campbell’s Healthy Communities program, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and FBSJ are launching a new initiative to go deeper on issues around food security in the city of Camden.

3. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE:
We are supporting and helping residents register for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

4. ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY:
We are engaging the community in preventative and proactive activities, including vaccinations and voter registration at food distributions.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF SOUTH JERSEY HUNGER

Every day, there is hunger in South Jersey.

The Food Bank of South Jersey, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, has provided nearly two million meals to a swelling population of food-insecure children throughout our region – over 60,000 children living with the daily threat of hunger. With 35 million pounds of food distributed since COVID changed the world, the mission to feed South Jersey has never been more advanced – or urgent.

levels, and demonstrated the resilience and fortitude of a South Jersey community united in a fight against amplified hunger, the pandemic also highlighted a number of issues that are interconnected with food insecurity. Among them include:

Access to health care – a key issue raised during the health crisis of the pandemic which highlighted the costs of health care services and the affordability of prescription drugs.

Workforce development and job training – a changing workplace during the pandemic drove attention to remote work and the need for continued skills development.

Financial wellbeing – the economic downturn highlighted the difficult choices that people had to make in a financial shock often driven by sudden unemployment, and raised awareness of financial preparedness to deal with emergencies.

Other issues like access to transportation and inconsistent healthy food resources also drove attention to the deeply interconnected pattern of issues affecting food insecurity.

The pandemic unmasked food insecurity, impacting people who never before needed food assistance. Now, with the pandemic oddly seeped into the new normal, the drive to create a hunger-free South Jersey is inspiring new approaches to building a sustainable South Jersey.

STAY ENGAGED

We know times have been hard, and we are fueled by your continuous support and loyalty! Despite typical in-person opportunities being restricted, there are still plenty of ways to stay safely involved:

DONATE FUNDS
Every $1 you give helps fill 3 plates for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Please return the enclosed pledge card or make a donation online at donate.foodbankSJ.org/winter21.

DONATE TIME
Off-site volunteer opportunities are available, but limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. For more information, contact our volunteer services department at volunteers@foodbankSJ.org or 856.662.4884 ext. 160.

BECOME A SUSTAINING DONOR Monthly donors provide the funding that we can count on, and for those who can count on us, like Gina. A gift of $25 will help to provide up to 75 meals each month. Visit donate.foodbankSJ.org/winter21 and select “MONTHLY” to join our special group of monthly donors today.

CREATE A LASTING LEGACY By including FBSJ in your estate plans and/or will, you ensure your impact on South Jersey posthumously. To learn more about our planned giving program, contact Lavinia Awosanya, Chief Development Officer at lawosanya@foodbankSJ.org or 856.662.4884 ext. 119.

With your ongoing support, we can continue our mission to alleviate hunger in South Jersey.

FIGHTING HUNGER:
ONE MOTHER’S STORY

When Camden County resident Gina Lombardo gave birth to her second daughter earlier this year, she was overjoyed. Though life presented challenges – Gina was unable to work due to her pregnancy and her fiancé struggled to find full-time employment – she was determined to keep her household abundant with food for her growing family, which includes her beautiful grade schooler, Charlotte.

“You do whatever you need to do to ensure your children have what they need – no matter what,” Gina, 26, shares. Gina and her family receive food each month at the Food Bank of South Jersey Hope Mobile distribution in Lindenwold, which provides nutritious food items, including fresh and shelf-stable resources, to more than 400 households on average.

“There is no shame in turning to the Food Bank for food – that is why they are there. We receive everything we need to help keep our kitchen stocked – eggs, pasta, canned goods, fruits and vegetables, items to make breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why wouldn’t I turn to the Food Bank? There is no shame in keeping food in your house. The shame is not doing everything possible to secure food and provide nutrition to your kids.”

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HUNGER BITES!

Congratulations to Food Bank of South Jersey’s Chef Kita for one year of whipping up delicious, budget-friendly meals rich in nutrition and flavor! Chef Kita and her diverse guest co-hosts served up dozens of healthy recipes since Hunger Bites launched in September 2020. Tune in to the Hunger Bites healthy cooking show for quick tips to healthy meals, special guests and the strategies to make meals to make memories – watch today on YouTube, Facebook or at foodbankSJ.org/hungerbites.

WE USE YOUR SUPPORT WISELY.
Together, we serve over 95,000 people every month. 94.5% of every dollar raised supports vital programs and services that serve people in need. Every single dollar helps provide at least 3 meals for people struggling with hunger. Your support remains critical to our efforts – thank you for helping to nourish our food-insecure neighbors.

Additionally, if ever you have questions about your donation or would like us to make changes to your account, please contact our donation processing team at donations@foodbankSJ.org.