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Guest Opinion: Food Bank of SJ Statement on Impact of the Government Shutdown

 

Fred C. Wasiak, President & CEO

Guest opinion

On December 21, the federal government partially shut down operations thus impacting an estimated 40 million people facing food insecurity in America. In South Jersey alone, more than 200,000 residents are food insecure with limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Of these vulnerable citizens, 57,000 are children who need healthy food to thrive physically, mentally, socially and academically.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – a U.S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, and food – announced on January 8, 2019 that all federal nutrition programs will be funded through February. While this announcement is positive and critical for individuals facing food insecurity, it is essential for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), among other vital supplemental nutrition programs, to continue to operate beyond February.

 

The commodities provided by the USDA, in addition to the generous donations by individuals and corporations, enable the Food Bank of South Jersey to provide food to South Jersey’s most vulnerable populations. When government operations are interrupted, vulnerable populations like food-insecure children and seniors are usually among the first impacted.

 

Sadly, 70 percent of South Jersey residents who depend on our hunger relief programs, live at or below the poverty line. The Food Bank is the urgent solution these residents turn to when they are hungry and can’t afford to buy food.

 

As the leading hunger relief organization in this region, the Food Bank of South Jersey is taking steps to mitigate the effects of this shutdown on families who find themselves in difficult circumstances. The Food Bank, and its network of over 150 agencies, stands ready to meet the challenges and provide food to populations affected, including federal workers who may need assistance.

 

Individuals in need of food, should please visit our website at www.foodbanksj.org or

call (856) 662-4884 or send an email to info@foodbanksj.org.

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