Federal food assistance pumps $1.2 billion into New Jersey economies each year, while keeping about 800,000 New Jersey residents – mostly low-income workers, children, senior citizens and people with disabilities – from going hungry, according to NJAHC’s report, SNAP Feeds NJ.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) helps one in 11 New Jersey households afford healthy food. Two out of five of those households include children. More than three-quarters of NJ SNAP families had at least one working adult over a 12-month period, according to the report.
“SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger in New Jersey,’’ said Adele LaTourette, director, New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. “Not only does this assistance keep hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable residents from going hungry, it also boosts New Jersey’s local economies as this money is spent in grocery stores and other retailers across the state.’’
NJAHC released the report on Oct. 25 at the Interfaith Pantry in Morris Plains, kicking off a statewide effort to protect this food assistance for hundreds of thousands of struggling New Jersey residents.
The #SNAPFeedsNJ Campaign will mobilize local and state leaders, advocates and residents to protest budget proposals that could force deep cuts to social service aid, including SNAP food assistance, LaTourette explained.
“The budget plans that Congress is considering threaten to decimate the safety net that keeps our children, senior citizens, low-income workers and people with disabilities from going hungry,’’ said NJAHC Director Adele LaTourette said. “We are standing up for low- and moderate-income residents in the face of proposed tax cuts that could drive up the deficit, forcing devastating reductions in federal food and other assistance.’’
It’s people like Contina Wright who rely on SNAP during tough times, LaTourette said. Wright’s husband lost his job and couldn’t find work for two years, while she suffered from health problems that prevented her from working.
“We had the American dream,’’ said Wright, a Budd Lake resident. “In the blink of an eye it turned into a nightmare when my husband was out of work. During that time, SNAP gave me peace of mind, knowing my kids wouldn’t go to bed hungry. It was temporary help when we needed it most.”