HILLSIDE—As part of its efforts to respond to the unprecedented need for emergency food among the poor and low-income, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey has purchased a refrigerated mobile food pantry.
This pantry, designed specifically for food banks, will help get more food into the neighborhoods where it is needed most.
With this traveling pantry, the FoodBank can supplement the capacity of a neighborhood food pantry on its distribution day. The refrigerated truck also can serve as pantry for a day in communities that don’t have one.
This mobile pantry is one of three provided to the state’s food banks through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“During these difficult times many New Jersey families are struggling to put food on the table,” said Jim Marks, senior vice president and group director for health at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This new mobile pantry allows more food to be delivered to more people more quickly. We are very pleased to have been able to help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey respond to this need.”
The Community FoodBank will end the year 2009 having distributed more than 33 million pounds of food and groceries—an increase of 42% over the prior year and reflective of the dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help. As the unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent and the economy remains weak, food bank officials anticipate an ever-increasing number of people turning to emergency food programs.
“This gift of a mobile pantry comes at a crucial time,” said Kathleen DiChiara, founder and executive director of the Community FoodBank. “In more than three decades of food banking, I have never before seen so much need for our services,” she said. “We have always served the chronically poor and now we are serving the newly poor as well,” she said, referring to those who are unemployed and underemployed.
With the mobile pantry, the FoodBank will be able to distribute approximately 1 million more pounds of food annually.
The Community FoodBank, which distributes food to the needy through its member charities and through its own programs, has taken other steps to meet the growing need for emergency food in today’s economy. These include the purchase of three new trucks for picking up and delivering food, and greatly expanding its Supermarket Gleaning Program and its child-feeding initiatives—Kids Cafes and BackPack Program.
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