“I Needed Support”

More than 1 million of our New Jersey neighbors struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families every day. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey works with thousands of community partners — including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters — to provide our neighbors in need with food, help and hope.

The Center for Food Action is one of our amazing partners in the fight against hunger, with eight pantry sites that each serve hundreds of people every week. They work closely with their clients to understand their dietary needs, providing allergy- and diabetes-friendly bags of food.

While Bergen County is considered an affluent part of our state, the reality is that more than 80,000 of its residents face hunger, evidence that hunger exists in every corner of New Jersey. We recently visited the Center for Food Action in Englewood to speak with some of the people the pantry helps us reach.

Fabrielis started coming to the Center for Food Action “during a really rough time in my life,” she told us. “I needed support. I needed help.”

She faced many challenges in her life, she explained, including living in a shelter with little food and being homeless for some time. Then she found the Center for Food Action, which has been providing her with much-needed food and support, even during her toughest times.

“Without food, it’s hard to live because, as time goes on, the longer you stay with no eating, it can cause dehydration, it can cause health problems, stomach problems,” Fabrielis said. “It’s something that you need in life. It’s one of those things you can’t live without.” Thanks to the FoodBank and Center for Food Action, she told us that she has the essentials she needs to lead a healthy life.

“This is a really good support for not only me but for a lot of families that don’t have anything or don’t have too much or can’t afford too much,” she added.

Corey, 38, also visits the Center for Food Action to receive healthy food. He told us he has skipped meals to budget for other needs.

“It’s a tough choice I have had to make,” Corey explained. “Some days I didn’t have food and I was stressed out and I didn’t know when my next meal was going to come.”

The Center for Food Action alleviates this tough choice for Corey, who gets loads of produce, grains and protein from the pantry.

“They’re like a family to me,” he said. “They care about people.”