EatSmart fans will continue to select a Charity of the Month in 2015. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.
Founded in 1976, the Center for Food Action in New Jersey (CFA) has as its mission, “preventing hunger and homelessness and improving the lives of individuals and families living in poverty.” To this end, CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey.
Below you will find some prominent statistics of CFA’s work. What you don’t see are the faces behind the numbers. Each person comes to us with a back story that matters. We listen to them and offer both short and long-term advice, and many times a solution, to what might appear to be an insurmountable situation. We are connected to every person who walks through our doors.
Ms. A is a 52-year-old disabled single woman who is raising her disabled grandson. Her total income from disability is $974 a month, and her rent is $840 a month. She fell behind in her rent because she tried to catch up with an unusually high utility bill in order to prevent a shut-off. She received an eviction notice even though she has lived in the apartment for 15 years. CFA paid her back rent, and gave her a food package to supplement what she was able to buy with Food Stamps, which provide $3.13 per person per day.
Ms. M is a former donor to CFA. She had worked at the same company for ten years and had recently been promoted to earn a comfortable six figure income that helped support her four children while her husband did most of the childcare. Her job was cut last year and no replacement has, to date, been found. To make matters worse, her husband filed for divorce shortly after her job was cut. She now comes to CFA once a month for food to feed her children.
Mrs. J’s sister died last November, and Mrs. J is now raising her sister’s two children in addition to her own two. The oldest child worked but lost her job and is now collecting unemployment. With the help from CFA Mrs. J is able put food on their table. We also referred her to other agencies to help with mental issues that the children are managing.
Mr. & Mrs. B are 61 and 56 years old respectively. Mrs. B is paid hourly and earns about $1,000 a month. Mr. B lost his job and is now self-employed, and earns between $500 and $600 a month. They could no longer afford to pay the rent on their apartment and needed to move to one they could afford. After living in Mr. B’s office for an extended period of time, they were able to find a basement apartment for $895 a month, but did not have the money needed to pay the security deposit. CFA paid the deposit which enabled the couple to month into their new apartment. They also receive monthly food packages from CFA.
The number of people we help today has more than doubled since 2008. Your support and recognition will make a difference in the lives of the individuals and families behind the numbers.
- The Center for Food Action Distributed 70,195 Emergency & Holiday Food Packages in 2013. An emergency food package consists of seven days worth of food; the amount of food a household receives is based on family size. On average, an emergency food package consists of 6 bags of groceries. As needed, CFA clients can come for food packages up to 12 times a year.
- CFA provided Thanksgiving food packages to 3,435 households – 11,679 people.
- CFA helped 1,980 households with other basic needs: rent – 479 households, security deposits – 396 households, utility & heating bills – 986 households, miscellaneous assistance – 119.
- CFA distributed more than 18,000 weekend snack packs to children in four area elementary schools
Recently added initiatives:
- CFA operates two community gardens to add fresh, nutritious vegetables to our client.
- CFA is collaborating with Bergen County to host healthy eating cooking classes for our clients.
EatSmart is donating 50 cents for every new Facebook follower during the month of January to the Center for Food Action. (So spread the word!)
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