The Great Magnifier – COVID-19
Seventeen months after the pandemic started, we are still addressing food insecurity in our community. Prior to COVID-19, it was not an area of focus in our collaborative’s work. Now, it is a crisis. Our volunteers are delivering groceries to approximately 800 families per month. Some of this has to do with a lack of reliable and affordable transportation in our area to reach the only grocery store, which is located on the outskirts of town. If we weren’t delivering food provided by our local food pantry partner Help and Hope, what would these families do? Also, there has been an army of volunteers picking up and delivering approximately 3,500 school meals per week. This will likely stop when students return to in-person learning this fall.
Our volunteers are delivering groceries to approximately 800 families per month. Some of this has to do with a lack of reliable transportation in our area to reach the only grocery store. If we weren’t delivering food provided by our food pantry partner Help and Hope, what would these families do?
Our partnership with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey remains strong and we host a pop-up food pantry together every month. Using funding provided by New Jersey Health Initiatives, we have purchased essential items such as diapers, soap, shampoo and toothpaste, and are now making these items available to our residents who utilize the pop-up pantry. We give the residents the opportunity to shop the essentials table and take the items they need, very much like a traditional store. They are very grateful and humble. We serve approximately 100 families at these events.
To make the COVID-19 vaccine more readily accessible to residents in need, the New Jersey Department of Health mobile vaccine unit also visits the pop-up pantry events.
We have formed a new partnership with Impact Harvest that has helped us to meet our goal of working with local farmers to provide fresh produce to neighborhood residents. Impact Harvest is a non-profit farming organization and through its network of area farmers, they collect donated produce, bag it and have been delivering 150 bags throughout Millville each week.
Food Security will now be one of our areas of focus moving forward. As long as people are in need, we will find a way to help them access nutritious, affordable food. Connect with our project director to gain ideas that could benefit your community.
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