In April at Essex County Branch Brook Park, previously the site of cheerful cherry blossom festivals, Kayla waited in her car early in the morning to get food assistance with her mom and brother. All three of them—like over a million others in our state—had been laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic. As they watched their savings accounts deplete, they worried about how they would afford to pay for housing and food – let alone college tuition for Kayla and her brother.
“I worked at a law firm, so I thought that maybe I would be able to keep my job so that I could try to provide for us,” she said. “But then I didn’t, and my summer internships also got canceled.”
As they neared the front of the line, they were greeted by a CFBNJ staff member, and Kayla smiled, knowing that they would receive nutritious food to last the next several days.
“The income that we thought we were going to have all went away. But this food from the FoodBank is a big help for the family. We’re grateful for what we’ve gotten here today, especially the vegetables that we couldn’t afford otherwise,” Kayla told us.