There are more than 919,000 people in New Jersey alone who are food insecure, and more than 268,000 New Jersey children live with hunger every day. According to Feeding America, 30% of New Jersey’s food insecure children are likely to be ineligible for federal nutrition assistance based on income thresholds.
The Healthy Food Crisis
For more and more households in our region, the struggle to meet basic needs – such as buying food and paying rent, utilities, and medical bills – is constant. This struggle is prevalent in urban, suburban, and rural communities alike. When family budgets are tight, food is often the first thing to be sacrificed. There are almost 1 million people in New Jersey alone who are food insecure, and nearly 300,000 New Jersey children live with hunger every day. According to Feeding America, 35% of New Jersey’s food insecure children are likely to be ineligible for federal nutrition assistance based on income thresholds. And for those people who are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the benefits almost invariably fall short of the actual cost of a ”minimal-cost nutritionally adequate” meal in their communities. According to a study conducted by the Urban Institute, SNAP benefits do not cover the cost of a meal in 99% of U.S. counties. In New Jersey’s Essex County, for example, the SNAP benefit is $1.86 while the average cost of a meal is $3.04, 63% more than the benefit. There is a vast body of research showing that children who face food insecurity have higher rates of physical health issues (such as anemia, stomach aches, headaches, colds, and other chronic health conditions) and cognitive development issues. At America’s Grow-a-Row we work to combat these detrimental effects of hunger and food insecurity by providing fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to those in need throughout the state and beyond.