Contact: Robert Corrales
TRENTON – More than $900,000 is being distributed to New Jersey’s six emergency feeding operations throughout the state as part of Governor Corzine’s Hunger Initiative to feed more of the state’s neediest residents.
“When a crisis loomed last fall and food pantries were finding their shelves bare, we took swift action to boost food supplies for the hungry with extra funding,” said Governor Corzine. “Those efforts paid off and now, this year’s hunger funding continues to meet the increased need of our residents by ensuring that all those who require food assistance can find a pantry for groceries or a soup kitchen for a hardy meal.”
Governor Corzine’s budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1st allocated $3.9 million for the State Food Purchase Program, administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The funding is disseminated to the food banks for the purchase of nutritious foods in four quarterly installments throughout the year. The first quarter checks totaled $945,116.
The food banks use the funding to purchase fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods and distribute the items to their networks of food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
“Between Governor Corzine’s Hunger Initiative funding and President Obama’s stimulus funding that we used to purchase applesauce and canned fruit, our 793 food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens are reporting they have enough stock to provide this vital service to state residents in need,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “With the growing season upon us, some of these funds will be used to buy fresh produce from New Jersey farmers so that the hungry have access to these nutritious items.”
The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) 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.
The first quarterly distribution of funds this year for the SFPP included: $635,500 for Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Hillside; $134,289 for Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken; $92,092 for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune; $21,642 for Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland; $43,903 for Mercer Street Friends, Ewing; and $17,687 for NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg.
The amounts allocated to each of the six emergency feeding operations are based on the number of people they serve and other criteria. The next quarterly fund distributions are slated for November, and February and May 2010.
For information on the State Food Purchase Program, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/fooddistrib/foodpurchaseprogram.html.