Helping to feed those less fortunate in New Jersey
As the holiday season gets into full swing, Gov. Phil Murphy is reminding all state residents that families continue to struggle to put enough food on the table.
During a visit to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside, Murphy said efforts to address food insecurity in the Garden State are moving forward on a number of fronts.
He said a total of $85 million in state funding is supporting the critical work of Jersey’s six largest food banks and "this funding is going a long way to helping to fill financial gaps, to ensure there are no gaps on the shelves."
Murphy said the New Jersey Economic Development Authority launched the Sustain and Serve NJ program after the pandemic began.
He said Sustain and Serve "has provided direct grants to nonprofit organizations to work with restaurants in their own backyards to provide meals to individuals and families who are facing food insecurity.”
“Since Sustain and Serve was inaugurated it has provided more than $52 million to 36 nonprofit organizations" in every county.
The governor said the nonprofits partnered with 442 restaurants to purchase more than 3.7 million meals.
“This has been one of our greatest win-wins,” said Murphy.
Helping those in need
He added multiple new laws have been enacted to expand access to free breakfasts and lunches in New Jersey schools, and to make sure those facing food insecurity are connected with the resources and meals they need to reduce food waste and to spur the elimination of food deserts, areas in the state where there are no supermarkets or large grocery stores.
The governor pointed out that since the start of the pandemic, the New Jersey Department of Human Services has issued nearly $1.3 billion through the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, which helps families purchase food for their children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school but missed meal(s) due to a COVID-19-related absence.
DHS has also distributed nearly $2 billion in additional monthly SNAP payments to help low-income families afford food and other essentials.
Murphy said in New Jersey “there should be no greater mutual interest and no greater common purpose than ensuring that every member of our New Jersey family has enough to eat.”
He added we need to ensure “that no child goes to school hungry, that no parent goes to work hungry, that no senior goes to bed hungry.”