NJPRF leads $2.8M grant program for small food pantries

The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund’s latest effort: Spearheading a $2.8 million initiative to help fund small and medium-sized food pantries and soup kitchens that are facing a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NJPRF is donating $1.05 million to the initiative, and has brought together several partners, including the David Tepper Foundation; Community FoodBank of New Jersey; Fulfill; Delta Dental; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; and the O’Toole Family Foundation.

The initiative will establish a grant program for food pantries with an operating budget of less than $500,000, and will be administered by the contributing food banks for their partners in the counties they serve.

“We are thrilled to lead the funding of this initiative to assist food pantries and soup kitchens around the state,” NJPRF CEO Josh Weinreich said in a prepared statement. “Emergency food providers have done a tremendous job feeding our neighbors, but they need more help. We anticipate demand for emergency food remaining constant or rising further as winter progresses.”

Grants of $5,000 to $15,000 will be available to help handle surging demand, winterize food distribution or expand operational capacity. That includes infrastructure needs such as refrigeration and shelving, personal protective equipment or heaters and tents for “grab and go” services.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more families than ever are in need of support,” Founding Chair Tammy Murphy said. “Thankfully, due to the generosity of our partners, food banks across New Jersey will be able to meet the unprecedented need and ensure that every family has enough to eat.”