New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher has announced that $10 million from American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds is being distributed to emergency feeding organizations throughout the state.
The funds were provided to the department through a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and will be allocated through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), according to a press release from the Department of Agriculture.
The amount of funding provided to each of the six emergency feeding operations is based on the number of people they serve. They are as follows: Community Food Bank of New Jersey, $5.3 million; Food Bank of South Jersey, $1.5 million; Fulfill, $1.5 million; Mercer Street Friends, $1.1 million, NORWESCAP, $300,000, and the Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, $300,000, according to the press release.
“These funds come at an important time for each of the emergency feeding organizations and will allow more food insecure New Jersey residents to have access to nutritious meals,” Fisher said. “Food banks play an essential role in providing a reliable source of food to so many communities throughout the state.”
The department’s TEFAP program currently serves an average of nearly one million residents per month.
This $10 million is in addition to the $35 million allocated to food banks through the COVID Relief Fund and money the state has distributed through food and hunger programs as part of the Murphy Administration’s pandemic response, according to the press release.
• The Community Food Bank of New Jersey has locations in Hillside (Union County) and Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County) and works with a network of more than 1,000 partner agencies to serve 15 of New Jersey’s 21 counties, which also include Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties;
• Fulfill is based in Neptune and serves Monmouth and Ocean counties;
• The Food Bank of South Jersey is in Pennsauken (Camden County) and also serves Burlington, Gloucester and Salem counties;
• Mercer Street Friends is in Ewing Township (Mercer County);
• NORWESCAP is in Phillipsburg (Warren County) and also serves Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties;
• The Southern Regional Food Bank is in Vineland and serves Cumberland County.
The Department of Agriculture is the distributing agency in New Jersey for TEFAP and it ensures the distribution of federally donated food throughout the state’s 21 counties, according to the press release.
New Jersey currently receives more than 20 million pounds of TEFAP foods annually from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), allowing the distribution of more than 70 different food items to New Jersey’s eligible citizens challenged by food insecurity, according to the press release.
TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including aging individuals, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.
Through TEFAP, the USDA purchases nutritious, high-quality USDA foods and makes those foods available to state distributing agencies.
The amount of food each state receives out of the total amount of food provided in TEFAP is based on the number of unemployed persons and the number of people with incomes below the poverty level in the state.
States provide the food to local agencies they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to local organizations, such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public, according to the press release.