The Food Bank of South Jersey acts as a distributor for 240 food pantries and soup kitchens in South Jersey. CEO Val Traore said the need for ’emergency food’ in that area has increased by 70 percent this year. And, she said, half of those people don’t qualify for public benefits. “Our inventory is being depleted much faster than what it was last year because of the significant increase of the number of people who are in need.”
And it’s about more than just food donations. Traore said it costs the food bank 66 cents per pound of food that it stocks, stores, and distributes. “So not only do I need new food,” Traore said, “but I also need financial support to bring more food in to our facility.” The organization is already running a $300,000 deficit for the year, and Traore said it still needs 4 million pounds of food to get through the holidays. She’s hoping for community donations and help from the Delaware River Port Authority’s yet-unspent development funds.