Agriculture Secretary Fisher and Health and Senior Services Commissioner O’Dowd Join Acting Governor to Distribute Funds to Network of More Than 700 Food Pantries, Homeless Shelters and Soup Kitchens Across the State
Secretary Fisher noted, “Hunger continues to be an issue for many New Jersey residents, with emergency feeding operations throughout the state reporting new people coming to them for assistance every day. The SFPP not only assists the food banks with supplying much-needed food to their local agencies, but that the food has a good nutritional value.”
The amounts allocated to each of the six emergency feeding operations are based on the number of people they serve and other criteria. The first installment of $2,045,400 was distributed to the food banks in July and the remaining fund distributions are slated for February and May 2012.
The Department of Agriculture also coordinates the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program, which distributes United States Department of Agriculture-donated foods to the food banks. During the past year, the Department accepted 27 million pounds of federal foods through this program.
“Everyone should have access to healthy and nutritious foods regardless of income,” said Commissioner O'Dowd. “Even in tough economic times, no one should have to choose between buying food for their family or paying the rent.”
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is directly involved in hunger and food access through its ShapingNJ partnership of more than 170 organizations throughout New Jersey as well as other initiatives to improve access to fruits and vegetables in communities through farm markets, gardens and incentives for supermarkets to locate in underserved areas and corner stores to offer healthier, affordable food.
DHSS also administers a supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides access to healthy food for 186,000 low-income women, infants and children up to age 5. The program also provides nutrition assessment and education, breastfeeding support and referrals to local health and social service providers.
Through the Department of Human Services (DHS), the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) is administered as a safety net that supports low-income individuals, families and seniors by enhancing their food budget so that they can buy the groceries they need to stay healthy.
In addition, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority is working to help support not-for-profit organizations retain, grow jobs and expand their services to improve communities across New Jersey.
For more on ShapingNJ, visit www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/shapingnj/index.shtml.
For information on the State Food Purchase Program, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/fooddistrib/foodpurchaseprogram.html.
Visit volunteerism.nj.gov to find ways to donate time or www.endhungernj.org to contribute to New Jersey food banks.