Federal food assistance pumps $1.2 billion into New Jersey economies each year, while keeping about 800,000 New Jersey residents – mostly low-income workers, children, senior citizens and people with disabilities – from going hungry, according to a New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition report released last week.
SNAP Feeds NJ, found that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) helps one in 11 New Jersey households afford healthy food. Two out of five of those households include children.
In addition, more than three-quarters of NJ SNAP families had at least one working adult over a 12-month period, according to the report.
The report was released at the Interfaith Food Pantry and Resource Center in Morris Plains. Last year the IFP distributed more than one million pounds of food to almost 10,000 local residents in need, according to Rosemary Gilmartin, IFP executive director, and the demand is up for 2017.
“Every day, the Interfaith Food Pantry helps feed Morris County residents, many of whom struggle to make ends meet with low-paying jobs or are seniors who live on fixed incomes that fail to meet their basic needs. Others have incomes just high enough to be ineligible for any government assistance but too low to afford the rapidly rising housing costs in our area ,’’ Gilmartin said.
“We urge Congress to protect federal food assistance. Community organizations are totally committed to partnering with the government to help meet the need, but cuts will put the most vulnerable, our seniors and children at great risk. Surely no one wants that.’’
The #SNAPFeedsNJ Campaign is designed to mobilize local and state leaders, advocates and residents to protest any budget proposals that could force deep cuts to social service aid, including SNAP food assistance, said NJAHC Director Adele LaTourette.
“The budget plans currently under consideration in Washington threaten to decimate the safety net that keeps our children, senior citizens, low-income workers and people with disabilities from going hungry,’’ LaTourette said.
“We are standing up for low- and moderate-income residents in the face of proposed tax cuts that could drive up the deficit, forcing devastating reductions in federal food and other assistance.’’
Carolyn Lake is community relations director for the nonprofit Interfaith Food Pantry and Resource Center.