The Facts about Hunger in NJ
In New Jersey, the food insecurity rate is at 13%, with 1,141,890 people being food insecure, according to Feeding America’s 2012 Food Insecurity and Food Costs in the US report. The number of children living in extreme poverty – roughly $9,500 a year for a family of three – rose an alarming 32% from 2008 to 2012. For 81% of these families, housing costs consumed too large a share of family budgets, leaving less for other necessities such as food, clothing, or transportation. For those with young children, 24% of their income went for childcare in licensed day care centers. This means roughly one-third of New Jersey children live in families earning too little to meet their needs.
The number of children living in families receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps) continued to rise, increasing 65% to roughly 415,000 children in 2013. SNAP which is supplemental in nature, is New Jersey’s first line of defense in fighting hunger. Likewise, the number of children eligible for free- or reduced-price school meals grew 22% from the 2008/2009 to 2012/2013 school years.
Individuals and families who are food insecure are turning to New Jersey’s Emergency Food Providers (EFPs) which include food pantries and soup kitchens for additional food. The Feeding America 2014 study noted that 62% of feeding programs in New Jersey saw an increase in demand over the previous year.
Learn more about hunger and the organizations and programs dedicated to addressing this need by visiting the online resources noted below: