NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On September 17, in an intimate gathering in the Douglass Student Center at Rutgers University, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) and Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH) teamed up to educate the public on hunger.
The meeting began with a brief introduction to the 40-minute special presented by the Food Network, followed by a video showcasing three families across American who struggled with food insecurity.
As the video progressed, the audience learned about the ways these families are slowly beating hunger, with the help of food stamps, food pantries, and before and after school programs.
Overall, the film was very emotional and eye-opening.
Once the video ended, Laura Sodano, the CFBNJ's Hunger Action Coordinator, took time to explain how she and her partner are trying to end hunger in New Jersey.
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is a wholesale warehouse based in Hillside, but the organization has grown to provide food donations all across the state.
They distribute 43 million pounds of food a year to more than 100 non-profit organizations. With all of their work, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey feeds over 900,000 people in 18 counties in New Jersey.
There are over 1 million people in the state of New Jersey that are food insecure, 400,000 of those being children, according to Sodano.
Over 519,000 children in New Jersey are eligible for school breakfasts, but only 41% take the advantage of the program, she said.
With 308,000 children left unserved, millions of dollars in federal funds are leftover.
Sodano said that US Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker are working to increase the participation of New Jerseys schools in school breakfasts and summer feeding programs, hoping to combat food insecurity among NJ students.
In September 2013, the City of New Brunswick began implementing Breakfast After the Bell, a school breakfast program that has since been expanded.
To get involved with CFBNJ, people can call Feeding America’s toll free number (888) 398-8702, and connect with elected representatives to help pass a child nutrition bill that helps organizations provided kids food in the summertime.
Or visit the Community Food Bank of New Jersey's website for more information.