For many of us, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will be a festive time to reunite with family and friends over a sumptuous meal. But a surprisingly large number of New Jersey residents will be struggling just to put any kind of meal on the table for Thanksgiving at all.

That’s why the state Department of Human Services is launching an awareness campaign on Monday to connect those in need with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or NJ SNAP. The program was previously known as Food Stamps.

About 700,000 Jersey residents rely on NJ SNAP for help in getting the food they need. About 6,000 grocers, markets and food stores participate in the NJ SNAP program.

DHS Commissioner Carole Johnson said with the upcoming holiday season, it’s important to get those struggling with food insecurity information about the assistance that’s available. The state is partnering with county social services boards and faith organizations.

“About 900,000 New Jerseyans are food insecure, and when we say that what we mean is that they lack regular access to affordable food for themselves and their families," Johnson said. More than 260,000 of those residents are children.

“That’s a really difficult place to be, and a real challenge for families and it’s really not something we should be seeing in a state like New Jersey where we have so many opportunities to try to help.”

She said a family of three in New Jersey with an income below $39,400 may be eligible for help, even those earning a bit more, depending on their assets and the expenses.

“It can depend on your individual circumstances, so we encourage people to go to the website and look at our calculator," she said.


You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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