DATE: October 3, 2006
TRENTON – Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced the issuance of $750,000 to emergency feeding operations throughout the state as the first installment of increased funding under the state’s Initiative to Fight Hunger. The money will be used to purchase nutritious foods, with a first priority of buying locally, to help feed an additional 500,000 people this year.
“In a budget year when we had to make some tough choices, addressing the plight of the hungry in our state was one of our top priorities,” said Governor Corzine. “Every penny of this funding will be used for purchasing and transporting nutritious food to feed our most at-risk citizens who depend on the state’s network of food pantries and soup kitchens.”
The amounts allocated to each of the seven emergency feeding operations was based on the number of people they serve. They are as follows: Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside, $470,951; Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken, $110,110; Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune, $56,697; Middlesex County Economic Opportunities Corporation, North Brunswick, $50,449; Mercer Street Friends, Ewing, $33,643; NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg, $16,552; and, Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland, $11,598.
“This infusion of funding from Governor Corzine and the Legislature’s budget initiative will mean that more people will have access to locally produced healthy foods,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “The Department will be working with our emergency feeding operations to assist them in finding local sources for nutrient dense foods and helping them make food purchases consistent with the United States Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid.”
Additional payments will be distributed in December of 2006, and then in March and June of 2007.
Governor Corzine’s initiative includes spending an additional $4 million this fiscal year to fight hunger -- $3 million to feed an additional 500,000 people and $1 million to make infrastructure improvements to the feeding operations throughout the state. In addition, the Department of Agriculture will work to improve the efficiency of the food delivery system.
Other components of the initiative include nutrition education programs, such as recipes, fact sheets, and other materials to assist people in preparing nutritious meals utilizing foods provided to them under the program. In addition, efforts will be made to promote volunteerism at agencies serving the hungry through the Secretary of State’s Office of Volunteerism.
The Department of Agriculture operates the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which distributes food donated by the United States Department of Agriculture through a network of 660 food pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding operations. Last year, the Department distributed more than 10 million pounds of the USDA commodities.
There are 1.6 million state residents eligible to receive food assistance through the state’s emergency food distribution system. In New Jersey, 8.5 percent of the state’s population and 11.8 percent of children live in poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in 2004. A report by Second Harvest, Hunger in America showed that 40 percent of the households in New Jersey receiving emergency food assistance reported having to choose between paying for food or paying for their utilities, rents and mortgage bills.