Camden Tops New Jersey Food Desert Communities

Camden has the largest food dessert community, according to a list released by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The agency is asking residents to submit feedback on their ranking of the 50 food desserts statewide ahead of listening sessions on January 12 and January 13.

According to NJEDA, the list follows the establishment of the Food Desert Relief Program to address the needs of communities experiencing food insecurity through tax credits, loans, grants, and technical assistance. It provides up to $40 million annually.

The Food Desert Relief Program is part of the Economic Recovery Act signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2021 and includes 15 other programs designed to accelerate economic recovery and strengthen communities across the Garden State. Contains the program.

North, Central and South Camden topped the list of food desert communities, with Camden East (Pensauken) further down the list at number six. Atlantic City is second. Other counties in Cumberland, Gloucester, Atlantic and Burlington counties also rank among the top 50. The full list includes both northern and southern regions of the state.

“As state leaders and as human beings, we have a duty to ensure that New Jerseyans, regardless of socioeconomic status, do not go to bed hungry,” Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver said in a statement issued Tuesday. rice field. By listing these communities experiencing food insecurity, she said, state leaders should “eliminate food deserts and reduce the barriers that prevent state residents from accessing nutritious food.” It added that it was taking “important steps to remove it.”

According to Feeding America, 762,530 New Jersey residents are suffering from hunger. Of those, 192,580 are children. People facing hunger and food insecurity across New Jersey are estimated to need more than $444 million annually to meet food goals.

“Too often, hunger hides in plain sight,” said Congress Speaker Craig Coughlin. It’s our duty to bring the relief that hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans living here need.”

According to NJEDA, 34,228 people in Camden are experiencing food insecurity.

New Jersey has two major food banks statewide. The New Jersey Community Food Bank has a Southern branch at 6735 Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township. They note that her 17.3% of children in South Jersey now face food insecurity.

South Jersey has its own food bank at 1501 John Tipton Boulevard in Pennsauken. Both organizations provide direct assistance to people and families experiencing food insecurity around South Jersey.

The organization will release data on food insecurity in Southern Jersey in March 2021, highlighting the impact of food insecurity among communities of color across New Jersey and across the United States, especially since the initial surge in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. , underscored the disproportionate proportions of food insecurity and economic insecurity.

Feeding America also cites Philadelphia’s own Philabundance as a resource where South Jersey residents can access food-related support. The nonprofit aims to feed families throughout the area and regularly partners with other organizations around Philadelphia to ensure residents never go hungry.

NJEDA is accepting public feedback on the list through February. Residents wishing to donate may complete this form or register to attend a listening session on the implementation process of the Food Desert Relief program.

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