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GOVERNOR'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN DELIVERS IMMEDIATE RELIEF TO NJ FEEDING PROGRAMS
Checks Distributed to Foodbanks in StateFor Immediate Release: December 16, 2008
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – Hours after Governor Jon S. Corzine signed a bill Friday that included $3 million to supplement the state’s Hunger Initiative and Food Assistance Program, checks totaling $1 million were distributed to food banks to purchase healthy foods for the hungry.
“We wanted this money to be immediately available for our state’s pantries and soup kitchens that are reporting severe shortages due to an up to 40 percent increase in need,” said Governor Corzine. “The $1 million can buy a million pounds of food that will help countless citizens who have found they are unable to stretch their finances far enough to adequately feed their families.”
Receiving the supplemental funding were: Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside, $681,513; Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken, $131,498; Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune, $92,200; Mercer Street Friends, Ewing, $44,905; NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg, $21,376; Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland,.$28,508. The amounts allocated to each of the six emergency feeding operations are based on the number of people they serve and other criteria.
The remaining $2 million will be distributed with the third and fourth quarter State Food Purchase Program funds in February and May. The food banks have already received $2.1 million from the program since July. In October, Governor Corzine ordered an early and increased distribution to help ease shortages that were being reported throughout the state.
“We provide the Governor with weekly status reports on the 793 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters and we are seeing continued increased demand,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “The Department of Agriculture is doing everything it can to ensure these agencies have the food they need for their clients, many of whom are working families, or the recently unemployed.”
The food banks use the State Food Purchase Program funds to buy fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods and distribute the items to their networks of food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens. During the growing season, they must buy from local farmers and farmer cooperatives.
The State Food Purchase Program began in 2006 with a $3 million allocation for nutrient-dense food purchases for the hungry, which enabled the state’s food banks to purchase 3.9 million pounds of food that fed an average of 262,695 pounds of food monthly that fed 69,110 recipients each month for the first year of the program. Another million dollars was used to buy needed equipment, such as refrigerators and freezers for the local distribution agencies.
In 2007, the program was continued with $4 million for food purchases, with $100,000 used to assist gleaning operations with administrative costs. Gleaning organizations gather surplus food directly from farmers and distribute the produce to hunger relief organizations in the state.
For information on the State Food Purchase Program, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/fooddistrib/foodpurchaseprogram.html.