Murphy directs $20M in CARES Act money to state’s food banks

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday that he will direct $20 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to support food banks in the state, which have been providing assistance with food insecurity at an unprecedented rate due to COVID-19.

Murphy said $10 million will be distributed by August and another $10 million by the end of the year.

“Food banks are a critical lifeline for New Jersey families, and, now more than ever, they provide nutrition assistance to families and their children who have been struggling to access food during this pandemic,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “This new federal funding will enable food banks to continue providing for those across our communities who most rely on their services.”

The funding will be distributed by the Department of Agriculture to the state’s six Emergency Feeding Organizations, based on a “fair share” formula using their service numbers. The six are:

Murphy also said the state is providing nearly $390 million in additional federal funding for food assistance, including to schoolchildren who would have received free or reduced-price meals during the school year, and to help families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Support for Murphy’s plan included state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.) and members of the cabinet.

Fulfill President Kim Guadagno, Community FoodBank CEO and President Carlos Rodriguez and Food Bank of South Jersey CEO and President Fred C. Wasiak were among food bank leaders who thanked Murphy and others for their efforts.