In a state as wealthy as New Jersey, it’s hard to believe that there are children and adults who go to bed each evening hungry. Some are homeless, but most are not. Many have jobs, but fail to earn an income that would place them above the US poverty level. It’s a daily and weekly struggle and for most of us, it’s an unimaginable one. However, for many fellow New Jerseyites it’s not. Nearly 11% of the state’s residents, or approximately 1,000,000 people, were food insecure last year, meaning they did not have an adequate and consistent supply of food. And sadly, one out of every three is a child.
Orange and Newark are each a short car ride from some of the most affluent towns in New Jersey. The contrast though is startling and sometimes it is difficult to believe that only a few miles lie between. Not only are Orange and Newark home to some of the poorest neighborhoods in the state, but they also have the highest rate of food insecurity. For many individuals and families in these areas, visiting a local food bank is essential.
The Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges (“IFPO”), housed in the Church of Epiphany and Christ Church in Orange, provides supplemental and emergency food as well as toiletries, diapers and feminine hygiene products to low-income residents of Orange and East Orange. IFPO is one of only a few food pantries in New Jersey that offer client choice, which creates more of a grocery store experience. The way client choice works is that clients are allocated “points” based on family size and use these points to select their own food rather than receiving a pre-packaged bag of groceries. The IFPO believes that this encourages healthy choices while also serving clients with dignity and respect. A weekly farmers market that provides access to fresh produce was recently implemented.
In 2017, IFPO had 9,300 pantry visits, served nearly 30,000 people and averaged 225 clients per week. Approximately 43% of recipients are children. IFPO is an all-volunteer, collaborative effort of four religious congregations in Short Hills and South Orange and partners with other organization and businesses throughout New Jersey.
The Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges is one of the finalist in the Sue Adler Team’s 100th Home Sale Program. To place you vote click here.
To learn more about The Interfaith Food Pantry, visit their website at https://www.orangesfoodpantry.org