Pandemic raises urgency to feed those with food insecurity this Thanksgiving
The need for food banks and food pantries to feed those with food insecurity this Thanksgiving has risen significantly because of the pandemic.
The Lieberman family, of North Caldwell, spent their Thanksgiving eve Wednesday morning packing up meals at the Salvation Army Montclair Citadel and then delivering them to 25 homebound residents. It's something the family does every year.
"It's nice to give back and be grateful for what we have. And people who don't have the ability to go to a holiday meal, it's something for them to enjoy," Andy Lieberman said.
It's something that's needed more this year with a significant pandemic-related increase in new Jersey. The Salvation Army reported that an estimated 2 million New Jersey residents are currently food insecure.
"Of course, this year, still in the pandemic, dealing with record numbers of families in need," said Community Food Bank of New Jersey President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez. He said the organization is also facing a rise in demand for its services this holiday season.
"Before the pandemic, we provided enough food to support 50 million meals. This year we are on track to provide 93 million meals," Rodriguez said.
The need is nearly double this year, a testament, he said to the need and the struggles that will not end when the holidays do.
Rodriguez reminded those who can and want to help to consider doing it year-round to making every season a season of giving.
As for what to give, financial donations go the furthest. Time is also helpful if for those who are comfortable volunteering. But for those who want to give food, it's recommended that they check with the facility they will be donating to find out what their clients need before emptying the pantry.
Many pantry staples are useless without fresh ingredients which many homeless and food insecure don't have access too.