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.
To meet increased need and to account for additional cleaning and social distancing protocols, CFBNJ has shifted to a 3-shift, 24-hour operation.
So far, we’ve distributed:
- Enough food for nearly 12 million nutritious meals.
- More than 58,000 emergency meal kits across 12 counties
- 34,000 Family Packs to families with children who have lost access to school meals
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.
- Our partners are reporting upwards of a 50% increase in demand for food assistance at their sites.
- We hosted large-scale, drive-up contactless distributions in Atlantic City and Essex County, so far, to distribute emergency meal kits (about 3,000 in Atlantic City and 2,065 in Essex County) and supplemental fresh produce.
Emergency Meal Kits, which provide 40 meals per box, enough to sustain a family for several days, are being deployed in collaboration with partners and via our South Jersey mobile pantries.
- We are currently packing a total of 2,000 boxes per day, enabling us to distribute the equivalent of 80,000 meals daily
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.
- Distribution includes 4,000 prepared meals to be delivered to seniors each week with the help of community partners. 33,500 of these meals have been provided so far.
- 20,000 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: 800-609-3663.
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
- I’ve Never Seen Vulnerability Like This Before- Kim’s Story
- My Team is Working Around the Clock- David’s Story
- Behind the Scenes with Carlos
- The Need is Only Growing- Carlea’s Story
- A Message from One of Our Agency Partners
- Seniors Need Us Now More Than Ever- Chef Paul’s Story
- See Your Support in Action
- Feeding Thousands of Struggling Families in Just Hours
For Our Agency Partners
Volunteering & Events
For the health and safety of our community, we are temporarily closed to volunteers until further notice. Please check back regularly for updates.
Unfortunately, our annual Blue Jean Ball and Night of 300,000 Meals 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.
- 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 Involved: Your 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
- Round Up at the Register at Stop & Shop: During this difficult time, you can help us feed our neighbors at your local Stop & Shop. If you are able, please use the self-checkout line and round up your total to the nearest dollar—Stop & Shop will donate 100% of the change to local food banks, including CFBNJ.
**Please note that, for the health and safety of our community, CFBNJ’s Hillside location cannot accept food donations from individuals at this time.
**However, individual food donations are still being accepted at our Egg Harbor Township location.
- 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
- NorthJersey.com: Food bank distributes 2,000 boxes of food to those affected by coronavirus pandemic
- CNBC.com: Food banks are closing and losing their workforce because of the coronavirus
- The Philadelphia Inquirer: Out-of-work Atlantic City casino workers jam traffic for miles in line up for donated food
- 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