MORE FUNDS TO FIGHT HUNGER DISTRIBUTED
Increase in Funding Proposed for Next YearFor Immediate Release: March 5 2007
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – Checks totaling $750,000 were issued today to emergency feeding operations throughout the state as the third installment of increased funding under the state’s Initiative to Fight Hunger, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced. The bulk of the money will be used to purchase, nutritious foods, with a first priority on buying locally, to help feed an additional 500,000 people this year. A small portion of the money -- $54,000 -- will be used for storing and distributing the food.
“Winter is a critical time for our most at-risk citizens, who shouldn’t have to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “That is why I have proposed in our Fiscal Year 2008 that we increase funding for this vital initiative to $4 million so that we can purchase additional food to be distributed through our state’s food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.”
This brings the amount distributed by the state to fight hunger since October of 2006 to $2.25 million. A final installment of $750,000 will be issued in June.
Governor Corzine’s proposed increase in next year’s budget for the program to $4 million a year would be spent entirely on food purchases. This year’s spending plan allocated $3 million for additional food purchases and $1 million for infrastructure improvements. Those funds are expected to be distributed shortly.
“Governor Corzine has placed a high priority on fighting hunger and this funding to purchase locally produced nutritious foods will directly help those most in need,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “The Department is working closely with the seven emergency feeding operations to assist them in buying the healthier foods, while also benefiting our region’s economy.”
The amounts allocated to each of the seven emergency feeding operations were based on the number of people they serve. They are as follows: Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside, $455,898; Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken, $105,534; Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune, $61,230; Middlesex County Economic Opportunities Corporation, North Brunswick, $61,005; Mercer Street Friends, Ewing, $33,994; NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg, $16,552; and, Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland, $15,740.
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.