Food Bank of South Jersey CEO Fred Wasiak, who said a single dollar can provide more than three meals, said the donation comes when it is most needed.
“Demand for food resources was high before the pandemic even began,” Wasiak said. “COVID-19 raised the need even higher. Now, we will have resources to feed people for months to come.”
Much of the grant was dedicated to the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Hope Mobile — a motorized pantry on wheels that carries food to people throughout the four New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem. The Hope Mobile provides an immediate solution to those communities that have a great need — but short supply — of nutritious food.
Another portion of the grant has been dedicated toward emergency food boxes for people in need. When the pandemic hit, the Food Bank of South Jersey saw the need for food increase 45% over 2019 levels, Wasiak said.
“Hunger doesn’t judge,” he said. “The pandemic caused business closures and high increase in job losses. People who never needed the help of a food bank suddenly found themselves desperately food insecure.”
The $150,000 grant is not the first COVID-19 donation by PSEG and the PSEG Foundation. In the spirit of service, celebration and charity during the public health emergency, PSEG and the PSEG Foundation donated $1.5 million last December to organizations throughout New Jersey and Long Island PSEG service territories. The 2020 year-end contributions provided help to thousands of families and individuals struggling due to the economic and job impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rick Thigpen, PSEG’s senior vice president for corporate citizenship and chairman of the PSEG Foundation, said the groups were happy to help.
“It is our privilege to be able to support community organizations that are providing much-needed assistance to countless families and communities who are facing enormous hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “We have been proud to make these community gifts on behalf of our employees across New Jersey and Long Island and support these organizations that are helping to make life better for people throughout the many diverse communities we serve.”
PSEG and the PSEG Foundation have committed a total of $5 million in foundation and corporate giving initiatives since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to December’s $1.5 million in grants to community organizations, the company and its foundation announced a $2.5 million commitment to pandemic relief organizations in April 2020 and a $1 million Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative in June 2020.