Twelve months of surging demand for emergency food assistance from pandemic-hit workers made for a grueling and unprecedented year for New Jersey’s food banks. And now they are bracing for more of the same over the next two years even if unemployment drops in line with declining COVID-19 infections.
Kim Guadagno is still cutting red tape while she is feeding thousands
By Art Gallagher
N.J. Looks to Award $2 Million to Buy Meals from Struggling Restaurants– A $2 million state program to provide $100,000 grants to organizations that purchase meals from restaurants impacted by the pandemic and distribute them at no cost to New Jersey residents has begun taking applications. Applications are due by Jan. 8. Click here for more information. (ROI-NJ)
I got excited when I read the above headline and lede in yesterday’s NJ Chamber of Commerce’s daily Coronavirus and Economic Recovery Update.
The RAINE Foundation immediately occurred to me as an organization that could spring to action and support local businesses while feeding those struggling to put food on the table. In my mind I was thinking of other community organizations and restaurants that could participate.
My enthusiasm quickly dissipated when I clicked through to Business.NJ.Gov and read the fine print. There’s the usual hoops to jump through for government work–proving your entity is registered with the state and has no outstanding tax issues. But there’s one big obstacle that would probably knock my friends at RAINE, the Highlands Business Partnership, Middletown Helps Its Own and other non-profits from participating in the NJ Economic Development Authority’s grant program.
The number of New Jerseyans who have uncertain access to healthy food is expected to increase by more than 50% by the end of this year because of the pandemic, bringing the total of “food insecure” people to 1.2 million, or 13.5% of the population, according to a report issued on Wednesday.
Tonight in New Jersey, children will go to bed hungry. Contrary to popular notions about hunger in America, most are not homeless. In fact, most New Jersey families that struggle to put food on the table live in households that have at least one working adult.
In Monmouth County, where I live, and in neighboring Ocean County, one in ten residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, let alone whether if it will be nutritious. One in seven of those ten are children. The anxiety and fear of not knowing is what social services agencies call “food insecurity.”
That is why I am beginning a new chapter in my life this week: leading the effort to end hunger in our community as Chief Executive Officer of Fulfill, formerly the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Fulfill aims to not only help our neighbors experiencing food insecurity today, but to provide them with the resources to become self-sufficient for tomorrow. I am excited join a team of 50 employees and 1,400 volunteers whose mission is to “shorten the line” of those in our communities who are hungry.
Fulfill, formerly known as the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, announced today that former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno will serve as the President and CEO of the organization starting on Monday, May 6.
“Our mission is driven by a desire to help those who have fallen on hard times,” said Jeremy Grunin, Chair of Fulfill’s Board of Trustees. “In searching for a new CEO, we wanted someone with an established history of charitable giving and involvement; extensive connections that could bring new resources to the organization; and who could help bring greater attention to Fulfill and its programs so we can serve as a model for other non-profits statewide. We have found that and more in Lieutenant Governor Guadagno.”
Monmouth County Freeholder Sue Kiley announced the County’s annual food drive, in partnership with FulFill this afternoon.
Non-perishable food items will be collected at the Library and most County Government buildings throughout the month of April and at the Made in Monmouth Exhibition at Monmouth University on Saturday, April 13. Read the rest of this entry »
NEPTUNE — In the world of hunger relief, helping people in need now requires more than providing them with food to stretch their grocery budgets, advocates say. To be effective, hunger relief also has to be accompanied by help with finding a job signing up for government assistance or filling out their income tax returns to… Read the rest of this entry »