New Jersey food banks to receive $20 million to meet need in unprecedented time

Camden County Freeholder Jon Young (center) and other volunteers and county employees carry boxes of fresh fruit and milk to a waiting car at Antioch Baptist Church.  (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Camden County Freeholder Jon Young (center) and other volunteers and county employees carry boxes of fresh fruit and milk to a waiting car at Antioch Baptist Church. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Six of the New Jersey’s food banks will receive an immediate infusion of $10 million in Federal CARES Act funding with an additional $10 million available in the coming months, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.

Murphy made the announcement at one of the food banks that will benefit; the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside, Union County. He said the demand for help from food banks has grown tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic and support has dried up.

“Food donations from supermarkets and other places have precipitously declined as many stores couldn’t keep up with the demand of their customers let alone their desire to provide to those across our communities who needed an extra helping hand,” he said.

More than one million families in the state have had to rely on food pantries for the first time due to COVID-related job losses, according to the governor.

The other food banks that will receive some of the funding include the Food Bank of South Jersey in Pennsauken, Fulfill in Monmouth and Ocean counties, Mercer Street Friends in Ewing, NORWESCAP in Warren County and the Southern Regional Food Distribution Center in Vineland.

Murphy said the money is a “one-two punch” against the fears of hunger and “an investment in our families.”

“It is an investment in our continued fight against food insecurity,” he added. “And it is an investment in one of our core New Jersey values; our value of community.”

Also on hand for the announcement were representatives from the six food banks, including former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno who is president and CEO of Fulfill, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Murphy also announced that this week, $208 million in special food assistance benefits had started to make their way to more than 500,000 school children who would have received free or reduced-price school meals if not for COVID-related school closures.

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