Five tons of food were distributed at Kean University in Union, where thousands of people lined up hours before the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Stop & Shop drive-up event was scheduled to begin.
The need for food is still a major concern for so many people across the state, and so many people turned out that they ran out of produce in a short period of time.
All of that produce was provided by Stop & Shop and raised by farmers in the state.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has been doing these outreach efforts in 16 counties across the state and has so far handed out 25 million donations to families in since the pandemic began.
Many receiving the donations have lost their jobs, had their wages reduced, or are only working part time.
Volunteers on Thursday handed out 2,000 packages of both perishable and non-perishable items that provide up to 40 meals.
The organization says it will keep holding these events until at least October, but the effort could continue as long as there is a need.
Feeding America projects a dramatic increase in hunger in New Jersey:
--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.
--In Union County, 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 Union County, the child food insecurity rate has nearly doubled - 18.4% from a pre-pandemic level of 10.2%.
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