As inflation continues to drive up supermarket prices new study finds that nearly 9% of New Jersey’s population is food insecure, meaning they sometimes struggle to eat enough, but experts believe the true numbers are much higher.
Adele LaTourette, senior director of policy and advocacy for the Community Foodbank of New Jersey, said: “What we’ve seen recently are incredible percentage increases in the number of people going to food pantries. and soup kitchens.”
“There is food insecurity, hunger in our 21 counties, no county is free from the problem of hunger and food insecurity.”
LaTourette said that with food prices steadily rising, low-income families can’t keep up.
Unable to put food on the table
“You and I go to the grocery store and we see it and we’re shocked, but we can handle it,” she said, “but there are more and more people across the state who simply cannot afford to feed their families.”
She said Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study found that food insecurity among black and Latino residents is more than 5.5 times that of white residents, 17% versus 3%.
“It’s not shocking news, but this report highlights the disparity, and I think that’s something we need to focus on,” she said.
She added that most of the food aid programs that started at the start of the pandemic have been phased out, further aggravating a bad situation.
Everyone can help
Latourette pointed out that September is the month of action against hunger.
“It’s about bringing people’s attention to the problem, inspiring them to take action and raising awareness about levels of hunger, what people are seeing, who is affected.”
She said everyone can do something to help make a difference.
“They can donate food, they can donate time, they can volunteer, food pantries have seen a big drop in volunteers because people are just exhausted from the scale of the problem,” a- she declared.
She pointed out that because of inflation, people who “when they went shopping bought a few extra things to give to their local pantry don’t do it anymore because they just don’t have any. the means”.
She added that “some people may think that the pandemic that reduces the need for food aid is no longer there, but it is, and in some cases it is even more important than it was” .
For more information about the Community Foodbank of New Jersey, you can visit their website
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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