The lunch series is part of a broader effort by the senator to fight food insecurity across the region and the state.
WILLINGBORO — It was raining sideways at Levitt Intermediate School, but the weather couldn’t stop a team of volunteers from handing out 150 bags filled with 10-inch hoagies, chips and ice pops to those in the community who needed it most.
State Sen. Troy Singelton, D-7 of Delran, along with members of his staff, Willingboro Township School District officials and the Wanna Pizza This? Food Truck braved the weather from Tropical Storm Fay on Friday to kick off the new lunch series, “Senator Singleton’s Food Truck Fridays.”
“If you’re hungry, you can’t succeed,” Singleton said. “Whether that’s hungry in school or hungry out of school. Having grown up in this community, and growing up in this general area, I know too many families that have been struggling with trying to make sure they get food on their table.”
Willingboro school board President Carlos Worthy said food insecurity is definitely a concern for the township district, which has been providing free meals for its students throughout the pandemic and over the summer.
“It’s definitely a focus, and so anybody that’s willing to give to our students to help them be better equipped to make it through the summer is a benefit for us, and we receive that with open arms,” Worthy said.
Singleton and the Wanna Pizza This? food truck will visit four more Burlington County towns in the coming weeks to provide free lunches to those in need.
The lunch series is part of a broader effort by the senator to fight food insecurity across the region and the state. Most recently, Singelton, along with other state lawmakers, partnered with The Food Bank of South Jersey to provide a COVID-19 emergency drive-up food distribution for Burlington County residents in Riverside.
He also was the sponsor of a bill that aimed to provide $15 million to New Jersey food banks to help combat insecurity during COVID-19 that was vetoed by Gov. Phil Murphy in May.
However, on Thursday, the governor announced that $20 million in CARES Act funding will support local food banks during the pandemic.
“The governor vetoed that, and for whatever reason, found the money to do it this way. So, you know, we don’t care about who gets credit and all that other stuff — we just want to see people get fed,” Singelton said.
In addition to helping out the hungry, Singleton hopes his Food Truck Fridays also gives a boost to a local business and allows for greater accessibility to the community.
“We wanted to try and find a way that can be convenient for parents and for kids, and just have, you know, a little mobile aspect of doing it. So my friends from Wanna Pizza This?, we reached out and without a moment’s hesitation they were like, we want to be a part of this,” Singleton said.
He noted he got the idea from Assemblyman Benji Wimberly, who had a similar partnership with a food truck in Paterson, Passaic County.
“We wanted to get involved with the community to help out and give back,” said Jessica Belardo, who helps run the Wanna Pizza This? Food Truck along with her husband, Jian, and partners Anthony and Maggie Corsi.
The coronavirus pandemic has nixed the mobile business’ ability to attend large events, so they have been parking the truck at the Olde Columbus Inn Tap House in Florence.
“We’re just very grateful that they asked us to partner and you know to help support our business and we’re more than happy to help support the community,” Maggie Corsi said.
The food truck series is being paid for by Singleton’s community action fund that was started about a year ago.