Nearly a million people in NJ struggle with hunger
A New Jersey group working to alleviate hunger in the Garden State says there are a number of ways we can accomplish this goal.
Adele LaTourette, director of Hunger Free New Jersey, says the good news is that hunger has declined in New Jersey in recent years because of economic circumstances.
"When wages go up and people get jobs, they go off the program. And when the economy goes down, they go back on the program. It is cyclical," she said.
Even so, nearly a million people in New Jersey struggle with hunger yearly, including about 270,000 children. LaTourette says people can push lawmakers for policies that make sure the hungry get access to programs. That would include access to SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps).
"We have about 800,000 people on the SNAP program. That does not necessarily mean that they are not hungry because SNAP benefits have not kept up with what it takes to feed a family," she said.
She said citizens can also push legislators to combat college hunger by changing state policies to make vocational courses count toward work requirements so that struggling college students can qualify for SNAP.
"You can donate to your local food pantry, soup kitchen or food bank," she said, adding that charity cannot be the only solution.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5