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For Immediate Release: June 12, 1998 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger (FAH), a two-year-old program spearheaded by the New Jersey Agricultural Society, has received a $27,000 grant from Kraft Foods and its parent company, Philip Morris Companies Inc. The grant Is part of the "Kraft Fresh Produce Initiative" under "Helping the Helpers," Philip Morris's national campaign to fight hunger.

FAH will use the grant as part of this year's effort to expand its refrigeration, food-handling and distribution capabilities to better serve the 45 community service and religious organizations who help feed more than 10,000 needy New Jerseyans in the central and southern parts of the state. FAH expects to provide an additional 750,000 servings of fruits and vegetables C another 250,000 pounds of fresh produce C to its food network this year. "As important as the increase in quantity is, even more significant is the added nutritional benefit this fresh produce will bring," said Robin McGovern, FAH program director. "Pound for pound, fruits and vegetables are among the best nutritional choices we can provide. Rather than see this food go to waste, we can now ensure that it will be used to feed New Jersey's hungry." New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger got its start in the spring of 1996, when representatives of the New Jersey Agricultural Society and a group of concerned farmers got together with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service, the USDA and the Bonner Foundation to see what they could do to help the more than 300,000 New Jerseyans for whom hunger is a fact of daily life. Since then, with support from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and grants from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the effort has distributed more than one million pounds of produce in target counties. The produce gleaned from the fields by FAH is of good quality but often has some small cosmetic flaw that doesn't affect the taste or nutritional value of the item. The fruits or vegetables may also be too large or too small to be sold through usual retail or wholesale channels or too ripe to withstand the shipping process. The recipient agencies distribute the produce to needy families or individuals or used it to enrich the menus of food banks and soup kitchens. Farm produce distributed by FAH varies with the season and market forces but has included peaches, apples, sweet corn, potatoes, regular and plum tomatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, zucchini, cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, lettuce and red, green and hot peppers. Thanks to the participation of Wakefern/ShopRite in Elizabeth, Frank Donio, Inc., in Hammonton and Louis Tammaro Co. Of Robbinsville, FAH can maintain two central distribution sites, The Children's Home in Mt. Holly and Lifeline in Trenton, year round.

The Philip Morris family of companies is one of the largest funders in the fight against hunger in the United States, having contributed more than $130 million in food and financial support to domestic anti-hunger groups since 1990.