Coronavirus News: New Jersey announces $20 million in funding to combat food insecurity

COVID-19 News and Information
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Thursday that he will direct money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established under the federal CARES Act, to support New Jersey food banks that have been providing families with food assistance at unprecedented rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total CARES Act funding amount will be $20 million, with $10 million distributed before August 2020 and an additional $10 million available before December 2020.

"Food banks are a critical lifeline for New Jersey families, and now more than ever, they provide nutrition assistance to families and their children who have been struggling to access food during this pandemic," Murphy said. "This new federal funding will enable food banks to continue providing for those across our communities who most rely on their services."

Related: Community FoodBank of NJ distributes thousands of boxes of food

The $20 million will be distributed from the Department of Agriculture to the state's six Emergency Feeding Organizations -- Southern Regional, Food Bank of South Jersey, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Mercer Street Friends, Fulfill, and Norwescap -- based on a "fair share" formula that uses the organizations' service numbers.

Murphy also highlighted nearly $390 million in additional federal funding for food assistance, which will benefit thousands of families and children as New Jersey continues to grapple with this pandemic.

Of the $390 million, the Department of Human Services and Department of Education will begin delivering $208 million in special food assistance benefits to more than 500,000 school children who would have received free or reduced-price school meals during the school year.

Related: 1,000 boxes of food distributed to needy NJ families amid COVID-19 pandemic

Additionally, the Department of Human Services has delivered more than $180 million in new, added benefits from federal funding to provide individuals and families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance and secured federal approval to make it easier to apply for and retain SNAP benefits.

"Hunger is a hidden crisis that has been made worse and become more visible by the economic consequences of the pandemic," Senate President Steve Sweeney said. "It afflicts people in urban, rural and even suburban communities throughout the state, leaving the most vulnerable among us with the inability to meet the basic need of putting food on the table."

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