June 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

JFCS’s Food Pantry Sees 30% Rise in Requests for Services

(Courtesy of JFCS) Over the last few months, the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey’s (JFCS) food pantry, located in Teaneck, has addressed the problem of hunger in Northern New Jersey by staying open and fully stocked. One in 10 residents in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties, the JFCS catchment area, are food insecure and struggle to provide food for themselves and their families. Last year, JFCS provided food to 185 families and individuals.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers of families and individuals requesting to visit the food pantry has increased by 30%. The financial ramifications from the coronavirus crisis have caused food insecurity and financial issues to find their way to many homes that previously did not have such needs. The food pantry has been supplying families with kosher perishable and non-perishable food items, as well as personal-care items and household cleaning supplies, in their time of need. JFCS also offers emergency benefits through FEMA for housing assistance, gift cards for food and medicine and family case management to help clients navigate government benefits and community resources such as food stamps, Medicaid and social security disability.

JFCS keeps the pantry stocked through a variety of ways, including food donations from nonprofits like the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and local stores, like Target, Stop and Shop, Shoprite and Trader Joe’s. Normally, individuals from the community are encouraged to organize food drives to help stock up on store-bought, unexpired items. Due to health and safety concerns, many events, like bar/bat mitzvah projects and shul food drives, geared towards collecting food items were cancelled, which caused a decline in food availability. Through a generous grant made by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, JFCS is able to purchase low-cost and bulk items to make up for what is missing.

The pandemic also necessitated a need for changes to food pantry pickup procedures. To ensure the safety of both the clients receiving donations and those distributing the food, JFCS staff have been pre-packaging bags of assorted grocery and home essentials and arranging for contactless, appointment only, pickup or delivery.

What can you do to help?

According to Michael Dworkis, director of agency intake and case management services at JFCS, “There are so many different ways community members can get involved with our pantry. They can organize a food drive to help us stock up on certain items, volunteer to pick up food from various stores and vendors, deliver food to clients who are unable to pick up their food themselves or make a tax deductible donation.” To find out how you can help, email [email protected].

Residents of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties that are facing food insecurity should call the JFCS food pantry intake department at 201-837-9090 to set up an appointment to receive food or access any of our other services.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing services to families and individuals in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties. Programs and services include mental health counseling, support groups, Kosher Meals on Wheels, senior services, afterschool programs and the Teaneck kosher food pantry.

For more information visit www.jfcsnnj.org  or call 201–837-9090.

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