Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I am departing from my usual topics today to take part in an important and innovative campaign to increase public awareness of the need to keep our food pantries well-stocked. As part of Blogging Out Hunger, bloggers from all over New Jersey are posting information today about the increased demand being put on the food pantries in our state and how everyone can help.
More than 35 million Americans, including 12 million children, either live with or are on the verge of hunger. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 250,000 new clients will be seeking sustenance this year from the state's food banks. But recently, as requests for food assistance have risen, food donations are on the decline, leaving food bank shelves almost empty and hungry families waiting for something to eat.
The situation is dire, no more so than at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), the largest food bank in the state, where requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent. Warehouse shelves that are typically stocked with food are bare and supplies have gotten so low that, for the first time in its 25 year history, the food bank is developing a rationing mechanism.
As the state's key distributor of food to local banks – serving more than 500,000 people a year and providing assistance to nearly 1,700 non-profits in the state – the stability of replenishment of the CFBNJ is essential to ensuring that individuals in need have access to food.
If everyone could just do a little, it would help those in need a lot. To help, people can:
- Make a monetary contribution: Visit www.njfoodbank.org.
- Donate food: Drop off a bag of food at your local food pantry.
- Organize a food drive: Just call 908-355-FOOD.
- Help "Check Out Hunger:" Look for the "Check Out Hunger" coupons at your local supermarket and donate. No donation is too small.
Below is a list of participating blogs. Given all the layoffs and citbacks at New Jersey news organizations this year, blogs are likely to become an even more important means of obtaining information in the Garden State.