Summer in Atlantic City will look very different this year, as South Jersey has been particularly hard-hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of this pandemic thousands of casino workers were furloughed due to the shuttering of businesses, causing a dramatic increase in food insecurity in the area.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor the unemployment rate in Atlantic City is about 33.3%, among the highest in the country and double the national average. As the state starts to reopen, many of these residents will get back to work, but businesses may still be negatively impacted if tourism suffers.
Some casinos have assisted their team members by offering grocery store gift cards to help buy food for their families. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has stepped up to help meet the need in this area by partnering with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and UNITE HERE Local 54 to provide food to our Atlantic City neighbors in need who have been affected by COVID-19. Additional funding has been generously provided by the Jingoli and Morris families, Resorts Casino Hotel, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, James Allen, Caesars Cares, and AFL-CIO of New Jersey.
Every two weeks, CFBNJ and CRDA are hosting drive-through distributions in Atlantic City for select casino workers on a rotation and Atlantic City residents to provide emergency meal kits and fresh produce. Together, we are working to ensure that our hungry neighbors will have nutritious food while dealing with the lasting effects of this crisis.