Jersey City hosts food giveaway as pandemic leaves residents food insecure
More than a thousand boxes of produce, chicken and dairy products were given to families in need in Jersey City Sunday.
Volunteers helped load the food into people's cars at the Maureen Collier Senior Center. People were also able to walk up and take food.
The collaborative effort between the city and the local Lions Club comes as the pandemic has left millions around the country unemployed during the holiday season.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop tells News 12 that the city's 48th food bank opened last week and is already serving 350 families.
He says people line up at 5 a.m. and wait three hours until the food bank opens just to get the basic resources they need.
"A lot of the people are first time people going to food pantries," Fulop says. "It just highlights the fact people are struggling. We need help from the federal government. Obviously [without] another relief program, it's only going to get harder, not easier."
According to leaders of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, 1.2 million New Jersey residents are food insecure.
Food insecurity in the state is projected to increase by 56% as a direct result of the coronavirus.
The demand for Meals on Wheels is also up 300%.
Meals on Wheels is also working on extra fundraising for food pantries and expanding vertical farming opportunities in the city.