The Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services (MCFOODS) received a donation of 1,500 Thanksgiving turkeys that were distributed to two dozen partner agencies throughout the county.
The turkeys were delivered to MCFOODS’ distribution center on Kennedy Boulevard in East Brunswick on Nov. 19 by the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, who received the turkeys via Stop & Shop’s Turkey Express program.
“In a year when food insecurity has increased sharply throughout the state and the rate of food insecurity among children has nearly doubled in Middlesex County, we are incredibly grateful for this donation,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said in a statement provided by the Middlesex County Office of Communication. “Because of Stop & Shop’s Turkey Express program, thousands of Middlesex County residents can celebrate one of our country’s most beloved traditions: a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. On behalf of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, I thank Stop & Shop for their donation, Community FoodBank of New Jersey for their coordination in this effort, and former New York Giants players Joe Morris, David Tyree, and Jonathan Casillas for their assistance in off-loading these turkeys at the MCFOODS Distribution Center this morning.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp increase in food insecurity in Middlesex County and nationwide, according to the statement. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MCFOODS has organized food distribution events and food collection events, all contact-free and socially distanced, to combat the severe need in the county.
To date, MCFOODS has received and distributed over 3.9 million pounds of food in 2020 as compared with 2.2 million pounds in all of 2019, according to the statement.
“Stop & Shop is proud to make this donation and help so many Middlesex County residents in need,” Stefanie Shuman, Community Relations manager for Stop & Shop, said in the statement. “We’re thankful for partners like Community FoodBank of New Jersey and MCFOODS who share in and support our commitment to eradicate hunger in the communities we serve.”
Feeding America reports a dramatic increase in hunger in New Jersey since the start of the pandemic in March:
- 56% increase in food insecurity throughout New Jersey a result of COVID-19 – an additional 432,000 residents.
- This rate is higher than the national average of 46% and greater than any of New Jersey’s neighboring states.
- The projected food insecurity rate has risen from 8.2% to 12.9%.
- The increase in child hunger in New Jersey is particularly startling – the rate has risen 75% due to COVID-19 (up to 1 in 5 children from 1 in 9).
- In Middlesex County, the child food insecurity rate has nearly doubled – 18.4% from a pre-pandemic level of 10.2%.
This holiday season, Stop & Shop’s Turkey Express program will deliver more than 21,000 turkeys to hunger relief organizations in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, according to the statement.
“More of our New Jersey neighbors than ever before may not have access to holiday meals this year,” Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, said in the statement. “I’m grateful to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for their partnership throughout the pandemic, Stop & Shop for their turkey donation and ongoing support, and former New York Giants players Joe Morris, David Tyree and Jonathan Casillas for their help at this morning’s distribution. Together, we are ensuring special Thanksgiving meals for those who need it most.”
For more information on MCFOODS, visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/mcia/Pages/Mcfoods/mcfoods.aspx
For more information about Community FoodBank of New Jersey, visit http://cfbnj.org
For more information about Stop & Shop, visit www.stopandshop.com.