Tag Archive: Food Pantry

This is Flemington, my town, in tony Hunterdon

We may have all come on different ships.

But we’re in the same boat now.

                    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hunterdon – bucolic, small-towny, rich farmland dotted with McMansions. This is the kind of place Forbes Magazine has recognized and pointed people to for years. We make lists like 4th-richest county in America (richest in NJ), America’s Best Places to Raise a Family – 7th best in the country.

Now they’re calling Hunterdon the new face of food stamps. Hunterdon, where the median household income is $98,000 a year, just saw a spike in food stamp usage in 3 years of 514%. Flemington, my town, is the county seat, a small town with more empty storefronts than it used to have and its anchor, the historic Union Hotel, shuttered. People who live in Flemington generally make considerably less than those in the surrounding burbs of Raritan Twp and Readington. But this has always been a middle-class town.

CNN just came to town to interview people at the Flemington Food Pantry, which has also seen a surge in use, and in usefulness. It’s a wake-up call, for anybody still needing one, of what’s happening to the middle-class.  For some people suddenly unable to make it, it’s bewildering, they’re not prepared, and they never thought they’d “be there”. To be sure, the numbers here started out low. And there are places in New Jersey where poverty is more deeply settled, where people have been struggling for years, for so long that some of the rest of us have forgotten to think much about that. This is what OWS has been about – and Occupy Trenton, and Newark. The census now tells us about half of us are low-income or living in poverty now, a statistic still sinking in, for me. But not for everybody.

If you can spare it, a food bank donation is a great way to honor whatever you’re celebrating this season.

Short ad. Click to stop video at end, or CNN will play their next video

From CNN:

Flood Of Good Deeds To Follow Hurricane Irene

It’s been a heavy news week, but John Lee’s idea is still a great one!  – promoted by Rosi

Did you stock up on canned goods in preparation for Hurricane Irene?

In New Jersey, and across the nation, about 20% of children don’t get enough to eat. The poor, the elderly, and the disabled are equallly hungry. IF you are among the thousands of us who bought canned food, or even extras of items like peanut butter and tuna, why not show gratitude for making through this weekend by donating those items to a community food bank?

Being blue in Jersey isn’t just about politics, its about putting people first.  

More aid for Community Food Banks

A unanimous legislature recently sent a bill to the Governor for his signature that would help meet the needs of our state food pantries:

Gov. Jon S. Corzine is considering legislation that would establish a “Community Food Pantry Fund” in the state Treasury Department and allow taxpayers to donate a portion of their income tax refund to it.

The Assembly passed the bill in October 2008, and the Senate gave its approval last month. If it becomes law, money donated to the fund would be distributed to pantries through the state’s food purchase program. The money would be used exclusively to buy food.

And while the demand is great, it continues to grow:

Recent state statistics estimated that 250,000 new clients are seeking help this year from food banks across the Garden State. That represents a 25 percent increase from last year, and that comes with a 20 percent decrease in food supplies and donations over the same period.

The bill also creates another fund that taxpayers can support:

The bill also allows taxpayers interested in animal population control to donate a portion of their tax refund to a cat and dog spaying and neuter fund in the Health and Senior Services Department, which funds a low-cost spaying and neutering program.

So if the Governor signs the bill, you can either support your local food pantry or as Bob Barker used to say, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”  

Cans, Clothes and Coins

This is good to see. Local Obama groups are continuing to try and make change:

Then a group of Democratic campaign workers who liked the idea of a shared initiative gave the word “can” another meaning, as in “food cans,” in order to collect food for the needy and contribute it to the Trenton and Princeton Crisis Ministry pantries.

That thought mushroomed into 600 bags of groceries solicited by the volunteer group in front of area supermarkets where shoppers donated enough food to keep the pantries stocked through December.

Now the “can do” movement is on a roll — as in gathering momentum — with the former Obama campaigners taking to the streets for a Jan. 10 event to aid the needy. That’s the day volunteers will hold “Cans, Clothes, Coins,” a drive to collect food, clothing and money for three area nonprofits. It will take place in Alfred E. Hinds Square outside the Princeton Public Library on Witherspoon Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We’ve already talked about NJ Food banks needing your help.  It’s good to see action being taken to assist those in need. You wonder what the influence of these groups will be when they turn their attention to campaigns and government going forward:

Sharing in the donations of food, clothing and money will be the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, HomeFront and the Princeton and Trenton Crisis Ministry pantries.

“I have never done work like this before,” said Yedlin, a nursery school teacher. “It’s taken on an incredible life of its own. That’s why we’re excited to keep it going. Now we’re exploring what else we can accomplish.”

Anyone interested in contributing items or in volunteering to help should contact Yedlin at shellyyedlin@gmail.com.

As always, if you can help, please consider doing so.  

NJ Food Banks need your help

JerseyBites.com is coordinating a blogging campaign on behalf of The Community Food Bank of New Jersey and they could use your help.  From the Fits and Giggles blog:

Here are some hard facts about what’s going on right in our own backyard:

  • In New Jersey alone, an estimated 250,000 new clients will be seeking sustenance this year from the state’s food banks. “No Food on the table,” By Judy Peet, The Star-Ledger, Oct. 23, 2008

    Statistics on the Plight of the CFBNJ

  • At the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent. – CFBNJ
  • 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. – CFBNJ
  • Food supplies are down substantially and people who were making it before are coming in because they just can’t make it at all now.  New Jersey Mom’s blog has a real good story and provides some ways you can help:

  • 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: We can help explain the logistics of starting 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!
  • Here’s a video from the NJCFB so you can see the situation for yourself.  If you can, please help.

    State tries to help Food Banks

    Another victim of the economy:  Food Banks.

    Corzine spoke Thursday at the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community in Paterson, which had to shut down temporarily for the first time in 30 years due to a dwindling supply of food.

    The economic downturn has taken a toll on New Jersey’s food banks. State Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus (koo-PAIR’-us) said 30 percent more people are using the food banks but that food donations have dropped as much as 20 percent.

    Corzine urged the public to make food donations through local supermarkets or community groups.

    From the Governor’s release:

    “In these difficult economic times, many people are turning to their local food pantries to feed their families. The guiding purpose of the hunger funds is to provide those pantries with additional, nutritious food,” said Governor Corzine. “Helping those in need remains a top priority in our state, and we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that New Jersey’s emergency feeding operations have what they need to continue their mission.”

    The state will try to speed up nearly $1 million in aid to help struggling food banks that are dealing with the increased burden that has been combined with decreased donations.