Home > News > Press Releases > 2007 > INCREASED FUNDING TO FIGHT HUNGER IN NEW JERSEY USED TO PURCHASE JERSEY FRESH PRODUCE
INCREASED FUNDING TO FIGHT HUNGER IN NEW JERSEY USED TO PURCHASE JERSEY FRESH PRODUCE
Second Quarter Hunger Initiative Payments DistributedFor Immediate Release: October 18, 2007
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – Emergency Feeding Operations throughout the state are providing fresh fruits and vegetables purchased from New Jersey farmers to their network of food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens during this growing season as part of a pilot project in the State Food Purchase Program.
The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) will distribute a total of $4 million in funding on a quarterly basis in this fiscal year to the Emergency Feeding Operations (EFO) for the purchase of nutritious foods. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture this week sent out checks totaling $758,673 to the EFOs as their second quarter SFPP payments. The final two fiscal year payments are scheduled for January and April of 2008.
“This hunger initiative is not just about feeding people in need, but ensuring that what they get to eat is beneficial to their health,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “The pilot project is helping our state’s emergency food distribution network provide fresh fruits and vegetables grown by our state’s hardworking farmers along with other nutrient dense locally produced products to those who might not have access to those items otherwise.”
The New Jersey Grown Fresh Produce Pilot allows EFOs to purchase wholesale, fresh fruits and vegetables from July 1 to November 30 using State Food Purchase Program funds directly from New Jersey farmers via farmers’ co-op markets. The markets participating are Tri-County Cooperative Auction Market in Hightstown and the Landisville Fruit Growers Co-op in Landisville.
“There are many benefits to the pilot program, not only providing nutritious, fresh produce to needy residents, but supporting our farmers and giving them new markets for what they grow,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “With the support of Governor Corzine and the state Legislature, we hope this program will continue to help the hungry and New Jersey farmers for years to come.”
The State Food Purchase Program began in 2006 with a $3 million allocation for nutrient-dense food purchases for the hungry, which enabled the state’s food banks to make monthly purchases of an average of 262,695 pounds of food that fed 69,110 recipients each month in that first year. The program also included $1 million for infrastructure improvements for local food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, which was used to buy items such as refrigerators and freezers.
The SFPP requires food purchases to focus on locally grown or produced items first, then regionally and finally outside of the area.
The amount of funding allocated to each of the emergency feeding operations is based on the number of people they serve and other criteria. The second quarter payments for this year are as follows: $533,137 for Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside; $112,575 for Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken; $62,170 for Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune; $34,581 for Mercer Street Friends, Ewing; and, $16,210 for NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg.
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.
For information on the State Food Purchase Program, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/fooddistrib/foodpurchaseprogram.html.