NJ Foodbanks Struggle After Storms [AUDIO]
Its been a double-whammy for foodbanks throughout the state -- first Hurricane Irene, followed by the October snowstorm.
As we head into the holiday season, pantries are struggling to keep their shelves stocked.
2011 has been a rough year, said Anthony Guido with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. "After Irene hit, we provided thousands of warm meals for hurricane victims and then most recently the Halloween storm with all the power outages has really impacted are emergency supplies."
Linda Keenan withe FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties agrees, "we are seeing an increase in need from the storms because people are losing their food when their electricity goes out."
She says donations overall are slowing at an alarming rate. "Our food donations are down about 35 percent compared to last year, yet at the same time we are seeing an increase in the number of people needing emergency food."
Keenan says just for Thanksgiving alone, they have seen an increase in need. "Last year we needed 10,000 turkeys, and this year we need 11,000, because there are more families signing up at the pantries."
Guido says more people are going hungry than ever before, "The past year we distributed over 40 million pounds of food, helped to feed more than 900,000 people in 18 of the state's 21 counties, so there's a big crunch on our services for sure."
"Last year alone we provided emergency food to over 127,000 people in Monmouth and Ocean counties alone, which is an 85 percent increase from the number we were serving five years ago" said Keenan.
Both Guido and Keenan said its a critical time for donations. "We are heading into our busiest season where the most people are in need, so anyone who can help, the general public, corporations, supermarket chains, is desperately needed at this point."
To help, visit www.foodbankmoc.org or www.njfoodbank.org