NJ’s food banks expect increase in winter demand, still due to COVID

NJ’s food banks expect increase in winter demand, still due to COVID

Twenty months since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, places devoted to feeding the hungry have still not experienced a weakening of demand in Garden State.

In fact, the need for food among New Jersey families may increase even more during the winter months.

“We expect food demand to increase this winter after rent and supply freezes end and now that federal unemployment insurance benefits are over,” said Jim Kroeze, co-CEO of Fulfill, which serves families in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Certain households with low and moderate incomes are protected against relocation against unpaid rent until the end of 2021. Utilities may close for services from January 1st.

“In addition, the pandemic left us with high prices in the grocery store, and incomes just do not stretch as they used to,” Kroeze said.

Fulfill offers a drive-thru food distribution event every Friday at its Neptune facility. (Fulfilled)

Pre-pandemic, according to Kroeze, Fulfill fed approximately 136,000 individuals. Today, the number is up to 215,000, of which 70,000 are children.

The non-profit organization has a network of 289 pantries and offers a drive-thru distribution every Friday from 13.00 to 15.00 at its facility in Neptune.

“It’s now grown to about 135 cars every Friday,” Kroeze said. “Unfortunately, we do not see an end in sight to the food needs of the Jersey Shore.”

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Because of what is expected to be a demanding winter, food banks in New Jersey are looking for help from the public in the form of volunteer hours or money for meals.

The food flows out as fast as it enters the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, according to President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez. Last fiscal year, CFBNJ provided enough food for 84 million meals. The number could rise to 93 million this year.

“Demand is still high,” Rodriguez said. “Many families are still struggling from the economic consequences of this pandemic, and uncertainty also remains high.”

For individuals trying to “get out of debt and get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said, price increases in the supermarket are a significant challenge. The supply does not catch up with the demand for many products.

To prepare for the holidays, CFBNJ pays about 35 cents more per person. pounds for turkeys. CFBNJ is buying more products than ever before at higher prices, Rodriguez said.

“It makes it really hard to steer and look ahead,” Rodriguez said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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