As demand for assistance rises, New Jersey food banks do more with less

Food banks across New Jersey are having to make do with a lack of volunteers and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, as the need for food assistance increases.

News 12 Staff

Mar 24, 2020, 2:34 AM

Updated 1,524 days ago

Share:

Food banks across New Jersey are having to make do with a lack of volunteers and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, as the need for food assistance increases.
“Normally on a Monday afternoon, we’ve had dozens of people, so 100 people,” says Community Food Bank of New Jersey official Karen Leies.
But now due to strict restrictions on gatherings due to the virus, the number of people that can work at the food bank has been greatly diminished.
Photos: The Impact of Coronavirus Around the World
undefined

“In this particular situation, safety and prevention is the first priority,” Leies says. “We need to make sure that we stay operational.”
Usually, there are dozens of volunteers that help operate the site. But social distancing rules have put an end to that for now.
“School groups, corporate groups, individuals, faith-based organizations – all helping to make our work possible. It’s been a dramatic shift. We know that people need to stay home, need to stay safe,” says Leies.
Community Food Bank has around 180 full-time employees. They are now split into three shifts to keep the number of people on the floor minimal. It has turned the food bank into a 24-hour operation.
More: Your Coronavirus Photos
undefined

Another new step for safety includes having partner agencies who normally go into the building to pick up the food, now pick up the food outside.
Leies says that their work is especially important. Before the crisis, she says that there were about 900,000 food-insure individuals living in New Jersey. But now that many people are out of work, she expected there to be more.
“We heard a recent statistic that 1-in-5 individuals have had their income reduced in the last week, so that just means that the need for our services and the need for us to push out more food and resources into communities of need is even greater,” she says.
Leies says that there is enough food for everyone, but that it just needs to get out to where it is needed.
Since the food bank cannot use volunteers, the best way to help is by donating money online. They say that ever $1 donated can provide three meals for those in need.


More from News 12
1:45
Beachgoers pack the Jersey Shore to mark unofficial start of summer

Beachgoers pack the Jersey Shore to mark unofficial start of summer

2:33
Pleasant conditions continue Sunday in New Jersey; storms move in on Memorial Day

Pleasant conditions continue Sunday in New Jersey; storms move in on Memorial Day

1:47
More than the Shore: New Jersey celebrates Memorial Day weekend in Hoboken

More than the Shore: New Jersey celebrates Memorial Day weekend in Hoboken

1:11
Thousands participate in 46th annual Spring Lake 5-mile run

Thousands participate in 46th annual Spring Lake 5-mile run

Dolphin stuck in NJ creek dies after ‘last resort’ rescue attempt, officials say

Dolphin stuck in NJ creek dies after ‘last resort’ rescue attempt, officials say

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey

2:08
Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

1:34
'This is unbelievable traffic.’ Memorial Day travelers share road trip blues

'This is unbelievable traffic.’ Memorial Day travelers share road trip blues

0:18
Prosecutor: Man accused of killing man in Roselle park turns himself in

Prosecutor: Man accused of killing man in Roselle park turns himself in

2:50
Police: 1 person injured in explosion at Sayreville power station; hundreds without power

Police: 1 person injured in explosion at Sayreville power station; hundreds without power

0:24
Newark man convicted of robbing poker player in Atlantic City

Newark man convicted of robbing poker player in Atlantic City

1:34
Fire at commercial building in Secaucus sends plumes of smoke into the air

Fire at commercial building in Secaucus sends plumes of smoke into the air

0:51
Jersey Proud: Ashley Lauren Foundation helps provide pool to boy with brain cancer

Jersey Proud: Ashley Lauren Foundation helps provide pool to boy with brain cancer

0:44
Gov. Murphy announces $100M Boardwalk Preservation Fund for the Jersey Shore

Gov. Murphy announces $100M Boardwalk Preservation Fund for the Jersey Shore

2:10
Jersey Shore business owners hope for successful Memorial Day, despite Route 71 bridge repairs

Jersey Shore business owners hope for successful Memorial Day, despite Route 71 bridge repairs

2:07
‘It was like a nightmare. Very scary.’ Thursday’s severe storm creates chaos for West Milford residents

‘It was like a nightmare. Very scary.’ Thursday’s severe storm creates chaos for West Milford residents

6:13
EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump one-on-one interview with News 12

EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump one-on-one interview with News 12

1:01
2.9 magnitude aftershock hits Tewksbury, USGS says; 177th aftershock since April earthquake

2.9 magnitude aftershock hits Tewksbury, USGS says; 177th aftershock since April earthquake

1:05
Trump floats possible VP picks in News 12 interview

Trump floats possible VP picks in News 12 interview

2:10
2024 Atlantic hurricane season expected to be above-normal, NOAA predicts

2024 Atlantic hurricane season expected to be above-normal, NOAA predicts