Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Information

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On July 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy announced that he will direct money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to support New Jersey food banks. The total CARES Act funding amount will be $20 million, with $10 million distributed before August 2020 and an additional $10 million available before December 2020. Click here for details.

According to a recent Monmouth University poll, the coronavirus outbreak has made a major impact on the lives of 7 in 10 New Jerseyans (71%). This percentage is larger than 62% of all Americans who feel the same.

Feeding America projects a shortfall of $1.4 billion in additional resources needed over six months (beginning in March) to meet the rise in need caused by COVID-19. In New Jersey, specifically, the shortfall is about $20 million. In addition to the over 40 million Americans who struggle with hunger every day, an estimated 17.1 million more people will experience food insecurity during this crisis.

Though South Jersey has relatively few cases of COVID-19 compared to totals statewide, the economic impact in the region is significant. The shutdown of casinos and related hospitality businesses has had and will continue to have a devastating effect on the economy, particularly in Atlantic County and the surrounding area, where the casino industry supports so many residents. At our Egg Harbor Township location, demand at our on-site pantry is up by 60% and the number of emergency food boxes distributed on an average day has tripled since the beginning of the crisis. 

 

Our Response

In this time of crisis, and as always, we are there. The ongoing support of our partners and donors has helped us provide food, help, and hope to our neighbors in need:  

Note: the statistics in the infographic reflect the time period of March-June 2020.

Ongoing distribution has not stalled and we are doing everything possible to make food accessible to agency partners that need it. We are advising sites on social distancing and alternate distribution practices.

  • April,  May, and June were record-breaking months for CFBNJ. Each saw the distribution of enough food for nearly 7 million nutritious meals, the most ever in the FoodBank’s 45-year history.
  • Our partners are reporting upwards of a 50% increase in demand for food assistance at their sites.
  • We’ve hosted large-scale, drive-up contactless distributions in Atlantic City and Essex County, so far, to distribute emergency meal kits.
  • So far we’ve distributed nearly 53,000 Family Packs to families with children who have lost access to school meals.


Emergency Meal Kits
, which each provide enough food to sustain a family for several days, are being deployed in collaboration with partners and via our South Jersey mobile pantries.

  • 88,000 of these kits have been distributed across 12 counties


Prepared Meals
are being made and packaged in our Community Kitchen, and a grab-and-go meal option is available to Kids Cafe and summer meal program sites along with college pantries, shelters and soup kitchens. 

  • 72,500 heart-healthy, low-sodium meals for seniors have been made so far 
  • 61,000 grab-and-go meals will be delivered to child nutrition sites in both our Hillside and Egg Harbor Township service areas


SNAP Assistance
 
is being provided by fielding phone and email inquiries to help our neighbors understand their eligibility and then apply for SNAP benefits. These inquiries have grown exponentially in recent weeks. We are coordinating with county offices that process applications and monitoring the development of streamlined approaches that have been made possible due to this emergency.

 

If You Need Food

The majority of our partner agencies and programs remain open. Click here to find a feeding program near you. We recommend calling before you go to confirm program hours and to be informed of any possible changes to their operations. Please note that given the current situation and rapidly changing environment, an agency’s ability to answer the phone may be impacted.

Many schools are providing “to-go” meals that families can pick up. Call your child’s school for more information.

If you need additional food assistance, our SNAP Outreach team can help you apply or recertify for SNAP benefits. Please call our SNAP hotline for assistance over the phone: 1-908-838-4831.

On May 11, 2020, the USDA approved the State of New Jersey’s Pandemic EBT plan. The plan provides additional food dollars on an EBT card to NJ families struggling to make ends meet during the Coronavirus pandemic. Under the pandemic EBT plan, all New Jersey students enrolled in the free or reduced school lunch program as of March 18, 2020, are eligible to receive $416.10 on an EBT card to help with nutritional support during school closures due to the pandemic. No application is necessary to receive this benefit.

 

Stories From the Front Lines: Hear From Our Staff

 

For Our Agency Partners

Click here for important, ongoing updates for our agency partner network. 

 

Volunteering & Events

Starting on Monday, July 6 the Hillside warehouse will be open for a limited number of volunteers daily. Click here to register for a shift.
  • All volunteers must be aged 16 or older.
  • Temperatures are taken for anyone entering the building.
  • Masks and gloves are required and will be provided.
  • Each volunteer must complete the COVID-19 waiver, which will be provided after sign-up.
  • All volunteer areas maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Advance sign-ups are required (no walk-ins).

Unfortunately, our annual Blue Jean Ball, Night of 300,000 Meals, and Dancing Under the Atlantic City Stars fundraisers have been cancelled.

 

How You Can Help

  • Give Funds: Many of our neighbors in need are already feeling the economic impact of COVID-19, while others will find themselves struggling for the first time. Continued support is needed now more than ever. A donation of any amount helps us respond to the need.
  • Give Food: A food drive is a powerful way to bring together your community to make a direct impact on the fight against hunger. Register your food drive and find resources to promote it to help provide nutritious food to our neighbors in need.
  • Give Time: Get hands-on to make a difference! Starting on Monday, July 6 the Hillside warehouse will be open for a limited number of volunteers daily. Click here to register for a shift.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed of any updates to our operations through our website and social media channels.
  • Spread the Word: Together, we can help keep New Jersey fed, even during this time of crisis. Spread the word about CFBNJ’s mission to your friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Get Your Company InvolvedYour company can help raise funds for COVID-19 response and our year-round hunger relief efforts by matching employee gifts dollar-for-dollar. If you’re interested in setting up a donation page for corporate giving, please contact Evelyn Chiu at echiu@cfbnj.org.
  • Give at Your Local Kings Store: To support our COVID-19 response efforts, Kings Food Markets has restarted our annual Check-Out Hunger campaign in all of its New Jersey stores. Give $1, $3, or $5 at the register when you shop for groceries as a convenient way to help the FoodBank provide for neighbors in need during this crisis.

 

Press

  • NBC 4 New York: The Growing Need to Feed Families
  • The New York Times: Are You Eligible for Food Stamps Now? Maybe, but It’s Complex
  • The Wall Street Journal: Thousands Line Up to Receive Boxes of Food in New Jersey
  • The New York Times: Food Lines a Mile Long in America’s Second-Wealthiest State
  • CNBC.com:  Food banks are closing and losing their workforce because of the coronavirus
  • The Washington Examiner: ‘Overwhelming in so many different ways’: Food pantries face exhaustion and infection along with huge demand
  • ProPublica: How Panic Buying Has Put an Incredible Strain on Food Banks Even As the Need for Them Explodes

 

Resources on COVID-19