A recent headline of an Op-Ed article by New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin perfectly captures the spirit of the food insecurity issue: New Jersey must be able to feed its people.
That caption raises these all-important questions: Do you have enough to eat? Will you go to bed hungry tonight?
We’re not talking about a third-world country; we’re talking about New Jersey, USA.
To help stem this problem, we have often relied upon volunteer organizations to fill the gap that tries to solve the food insecurity problem. But, unfortunately, many volunteer organizations have undergone even more strain than ever in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. And the need to end food insecurity — do I have enough food to feed my family? — is greater than ever.
According to Speaker Coughlin’s Op-Ed article, “Since 2010, when the percentage of food-insecure households in New Jersey stood at 18.6%, we had been making steady one year progress in closing the hunger gap. We had made it down to 11.3% by 2018. However, today standing at 13.5%, we estimate 1.2 million New Jerseyans live with the uncertainty and challenge of where their next meal will come from. One-third are children.”
You might not be a witness to this food insecurity, but it’s genuine.
As your legislator, I’m trying to do my part. I am again kicking off our Food Truck Fridays that will provide 2,000 meals to those in need throughout Burlington County this summer. We are partnering once again with Burlington County-based Wanna Pizza This? food truck to provide free lunches to kids and families in communities throughout our district.
No one solves the food insecurity issue single-handedly. This is why we should support organizations that make it their mission to help those who face food insecurity. In particular, I want publicly to praise the efforts of the Food Bank of South Jersey and Farmers Against Hunger for their decades long efforts to address one of the most fundamental needs of everyone: having enough food.
Praising these organizations for their efforts is important, but just as critical is urging all New Jerseyans to support them. These organizations work unceasingly to help the less fortunate because their minds and hearts exemplify the idea of a “good citizen.” You can be a good citizen too. Offer a donation or sacrifice some of your time. Don’t wait to help. Your effort today just might ensure that a child will eat tomorrow. And if you’re a person of faith, there might be someone else who will applaud your efforts.
That’s my take, what’s yours?