On September 30, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) released a special report about the impact of COVID-19 on hunger in New Jersey. The report, titled “COVID-19’s Impact on Food Insecurity in New Jersey,” uses statistical projections from Feeding America to examine anticipated increases to food insecurity across the state in 2020 and to advance recommendations for the public and nonprofit sectors to address this urgent need.
Click here to read the full report.
As the novel coronavirus broke out in our region, a perfect storm emerged within the emergency feeding network, resulting in increased demand, declines in donations of food, and disruptions to the charitable food assistance system’s operating model. Feeding America projects a 56% increase in New Jersey’s food insecurity rate as a direct result of the pandemic, higher than the expected increases nationwide and in neighboring states. This translates to an additional 430,000 New Jersey residents becoming food insecure—a total of 1.2 million food insecure residents.
It is estimated that approximately 4 in 10 individuals being served by food banks are new to charitable food assistance as a result of COVID-19.
Despite these challenges, CFBNJ remains strong and resilient. Together with our network, we are innovating and addressing this perfect storm every day to make sure that our New Jersey neighbors have the food they need.
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.
Note: the statistics in the infographic reflect the time period of March-Summer 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.
- Recent months have been record-breaking months for CFBNJ. March through August saw the distribution of enough food for about 40 million nutritious meals.
- At the peak of the crisis, our partners were reporting upwards of a 50% increase in demand for food assistance at their sites.
- We’ve hosted 22 large-scale, drive-up contactless distributions in nine counties, providing more than 23,000 households in need with emergency meal kits and supplemental fresh produce.
- So far we’ve distributed nearly 53,000 Family Packs to families with children who have lost access to school meals. More than 506,000 meals have been provided to children and their families via our child nutrition programs during the pandemic.
Emergency Meal Kits, which each provide enough food to sustain a family for several days, are being deployed at large-scale distributions and in collaboration with partners and via our South Jersey mobile pantries.
- More than 100,000 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.
- 75,500 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 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.
- Between mid-March and the end of August, we provided application assistance and resource connection to more than 1,222 of our neighbors in need.
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.
You can also get the addresses and phone numbers of your nearest CFBNJ partner agencies by texting “FindFood” for English or “Comida” for Spanish to 908-224-7776.
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 Resource Access team can help you apply or recertify for SNAP benefits. Please call our Food Assistance Line for assistance over the phone: 1-908-838-4831. Click here for important news and updates on SNAP.
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
- Food, Help, and Hope by the Numbers
Volunteering & Events
- All volunteers must be 14 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, Chefs Tableside Dinner, and Dancing Under the Atlantic City Stars fundraisers have been canceled.
How You Can Help
- Give Funds: Many of our neighbors have found themselves struggling for the first time due to layoffs, reduced work hours, and missed paychecks. 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! Our Hillside warehouse is 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 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 email@example.com.
- 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