Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS), in conjunction with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) and with contributions from Novo Nordisk, held the county’s first ever drive-thru food distribution event, distributing 1,500 boxes of food to 1,500 families through the event and network of food pantries.
The distribution, which was held on June 27 and followed CDC and state guidelines for social distancing, allowed residents to drive up through the distribution line to collect a box of fresh and packaged food, provided by CFBNJ, all while remaining contact-free, according to information provided by the Middlesex County Office of Communication.
A crew of 125 volunteers from MCFOODS, CFBNJ, Novo Nordisk and the county donated their time. In addition to its staff answering the call to volunteer, Novo Nordisk donated the use of its campus in Plainsboro and onsite support for all volunteers.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our way of lives, organizations like MCFOODS and CFBNJ have stepped up in tremendous ways, working around the clock to aid our residents in getting access to one of the most basic needs: food. The Board of Chosen Freeholders extends the greatest thanks and gratitude to MCFOODS, CFBNJ, Novo Nordisk, and our volunteers for the selfless, vital work they have been doing throughout this pandemic,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said in the statement.
The event came during a time when many New Jerseyans are experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Jennifer Apostol, director of MCFOODS, compared to last year, the distribution center, which provides food to food pantries around the county, has seen an increase in the number of residents in need of food. MCFOODS saw a 79% increase in the amount of food distributed in March, and a 100% increase in April compared to last year, and a 60% increase in the number of pantries in the network accessing MCFOODS’ services compared to 2019, according to the statement.
Additionally, April and May were record-breaking months for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, with each month seeing the distribution of enough food for nearly 7 million meals, the most ever provided in a single month in CFBNJ’s 45-year history, according to the statement.
“In these unprecedented times, it takes the collaboration of all sectors of society to ensure nutritious food for struggling families. We at CFBNJ are grateful for our partnerships with MCFOODS, Middlesex County, Novo Nordisk, and for all of the volunteers who have stepped up to help meet the basic needs of their neighbors, many of whom are struggling for the first time in their lives due to the pandemic,” Carlos Rodriguez, president & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, said in the statement.
In addition to this drive-up distribution event, residents can visit a local food pantry to collect food. Those in need of food specifically within Middlesex County can visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/mcia/Pages/Mcfoods/mcfoods.asp for a list of pantries providing food during this time; or for those throughout the State of New Jersey, visit cfbnj.org/findfood to locate a CFBNJ partner agency.