The Community FoodBank of New Jersey is a member of Feeding America®. This organization addresses hunger as a public health issue by providing healthy food and nutrition education to low-income residents. The FoodBank also offers free medical screenings and engages volunteers from many walks of life. Last year, the FoodBank hosted nearly 40,000 volunteer visits, equivalent to the work of 38 full-time employees.
1 in 12 people
A new report shows that one in 12 households in New Jersey does not have reliable access to nutritious food. The problem can be addressed by coordinating the efforts of government and nonprofit agencies. The Economic Development Authority has identified 50 cities throughout the state as food deserts. The most underserved is Camden, which has an estimated 1 in 12 people without access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The state is a major center for industrial and commercial food production. The Campbell’s Soup Company has been in Camden since 1869, and Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, is headquartered in Jersey City. In addition to these national names, New Jersey is home to several notable companies, including M&M candy (a popular chocolate treat), which has been manufactured in Hackettstown since 1958. In addition, Manischewitz is one of the largest producers of Jewish foods and is based in Newark, New Jersey.
In addition to traditional American fare, New Jersey also offers many unique regional dishes. The state is a hotbed for culinary innovation, with some restaurants employing locally grown produce. The state’s rich immigrant history contributes to the regional flavors of the state’s food. One in 12 people in New Jersey eats food in a restaurant at least once a week. The state is also known for its pork roll and saltwater taffy.
Lack of after-school programs
According to a new report, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey schoolchildren go without adult supervision during the afternoon. A survey by the Afterschool Alliance estimated that 260,000 Garden State children go unsupervised in the afternoons. Yet the actual number could be much higher. Fortunately, there are many options available for these kids and their parents.
Afterschool programs in New Jersey are licensed and free of charge for children. The programs are designed to offer enrichment activities and educational experiences for children. These programs follow the Kinnelon, Pequannock, and Lincoln Park school calendars and provide children with a safe and fun environment. Families can apply for scholarships if they cannot afford the tuition.
Afterschool programs have the potential to make a world of difference. But with systemic support, access to such programs is unlimited. Since the early 2000s, the number of students enrolled in afterschool programs has dropped by half. Children from higher-income families are more likely to attend in-person programs than those from lower-income families. Cindy Hudgins, who started Girlstart, took action by redesigning afterschool programs to make them accessible to more children.
The lack of afterschool programs in New Jersey is not just a problem with NJ children. The nationwide survey conducted by The Hechinger Report found that 16 percent of students were enrolled in afterschool programs in 2009, compared to 14 percent in 2008. The Hechinger Report also found that after-school programs can help improve social and academic outcomes.
Despite the growing need for afterschool programs, funding remains an issue in the state. The NJDE is working with school districts, statewide partners, and communities to address this issue to improve access to such programs. Its leading indicator system emphasizes the importance of high-quality afterschool programs and their impact on student outcomes. The report also outlines five improvement strategies being tested and implemented across the state.
In addition to providing a safe space for children after school, afterschool programs should also offer a safe place to learn and develop new skills. The plan should also help children build their confidence and make responsible choices. Growing research will help inform these efforts. For example, after-school STEM programs are critical for improving student learning and social skills.
The NJDE is working with NJSACC-New Jersey’s Afterschool Network to offer technical assistance and training to programs that provide afterschool programming for youth. The program promotes partnerships and research-based strategies to create a sustainable program. Among its many initiatives, the organization also developed a toolkit to help programs host open houses and celebrate the success of their programs.
Lack of healthy food
Lack of access to nutritious food is a severe problem for New Jersey. Though the state is one of the nation’s wealthiest, nearly one million people live in areas without access to healthy grocery stores. This problem is compounded for those who rely on public transportation. As a result, many families have to purchase food from small businesses, which face challenges in providing nutritious food.
The solution lies in expanding access to healthy food. One option is to create a network of healthy corner stores throughout the state. This initiative, backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Campbell’s Soup Company, currently operates in more than 150 locations across 23 cities. This program aims to increase access to healthy foods and educate consumers about healthy eating. Moreover, it supports the stores by providing customized marketing materials, recipe cards, equipment, and health screenings.
A study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that one in every twelve New Jersey households does not have reliable access to healthy food. A more coordinated effort by the government and private sectors would ease the problem. The study also noted that 8.4% of households in the state experienced food insecurity, and 8.4% had inadequate food security.
New Jersey has implemented several programs to increase access to healthy food. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative aims to increase access to healthy foods in corner stores by providing them with marketing materials and technical support. By doing so, healthy food retailers can become more attractive neighborhood anchors and contribute to local jobs and tax revenue.
The New Jersey Food Access Initiative is another strategy to improve access to healthy foods in New Jersey. It includes a statewide financing program to support supermarket developers and operators, food hubs, and other fresh food retail formats. The project focuses on providing healthy food to communities in the state’s ten largest cities.
The organization will work with community-based programs, donation programs, and educational tools to improve access to nutritious foods. This will help reduce food insecurity and health disparities among children. And it will also provide resources for local food banks, expanding their reach. And it will also provide referrals for those with limited resources.