Food donations rise over holidays, but need in NJ outpaces generosity

Workers sort food donations. (Community Food Bank of New Jersey)

Workers sort food donations. (Community Food Bank of New Jersey)

As attention to charities increases during the holiday season, food banks in New Jersey are seeing an uptick in donations. But it won’t be enough to meet ever-rising demands.

Groceries and canned goods are going out to food pantries and soup kitchens as fast as they come in, said Julia Kathan, spokeswoman for Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

 

“There are more hungry people with more of a need. Many of these are people who have jobs, sometimes two jobs, sometimes three jobs,” she said. “And in a state where the cost of living is so high, they’re simply not able to pay their rent and to put food on the table for their families.”

Cold weather will make things even worse because some people will have to choose between buying food or paying for heat, Kathan said.

The situation in South Jersey is especially dire because of the thousands of casino workers who have lost their jobs.

“We have more than 8,000 casino workers who’ve lost their jobs, and the ripple effect for them, for other businesses, and for their families has really been profound,” Kathan said.

With the end of the holidays in January, donations drop off. The food bank plans to use social media in an effort to get needed supplies throughout the year.

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