State Sen. Loretta Weinberg is urging community members to support the Center for Food Action after a report found more than half of the food pantry's Bergen County clients came from her district.
A report issued by the Center for Food Action found 2,698 Teaneck residents used the CFA’s food pantry in 2010. Teaneck had one of the highest rates of people seeking assistance in Weinberg’s district. Hackensack, Englewood and Bergenfield also had high numbers, the report found. Of the 36,703 Bergen County CFA clients served in 2010, 17,722 lived in Weinberg's 37th Legislative District, according to a press release from the senator's office.
“It is a sad sign of the times. I represent 12 out of the 70 municipalities in Bergen County and almost half of the residents in the CFA statistics live in my District,” Weinberg said in a statement. “More of our residents are seeking help with basic food staples they can no longer afford due to long periods of unemployment and other important financial obligations.”
Donations to the CFA can be made through the organization’s website or by phone. The group also needs food donations.
“The next time you go food shopping, please think about your fellow neighbors who depend upon the Center for Food Action for food on their tables,” Weinberg said. “These donations will make a huge difference to our residents in need.”
Any donations would come at a time when CFA’s food supplies are down and need has increased, said CFA Executive Director Patricia Espy. In Teaneck, CFA has served about 400 more people since the start of the economic recession.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of people needing food and other services,” Espy said. “It has put a strain on us.”
CFA provides packages with emergency food supplies designed to last seven days based on family size. In 2010, 38 percent of all emergency food recipients were children and 14 percent were senior citizens, according to the group.
Need is also shifting to people who have had their work hours cut, and those on minimum wage who have families to support, Espy said. According to a 2009 CFA report, Teaneck continues to have one of the highest amounts of people getting emergency food assistance. Even some more affluent communities across Bergen County have seen increases in people being served by CFA. In Allendale, where median household income is around $130,000, CFA saw the amount of people needing emergency food assistance more than doubled from 26 in 2008 to 72 in 2009, according to 2009 data.
“It doesn’t really matter too much if it’s a big town or a small town, Espy said.
A busy Thanksgiving season and bad weather have caused food supplies to decrease at CFA’s pantry. The group's needs include canned meats, hearty soups, healthy cereals and dry milk.
“People do want to help, they just need to know how,” Espy said.
By the numbers:
- 2,698 Teaneck residents served by CFA's food pantry in 2010.
- 6,140 Hackensack residents served by CFA's food pantry in 2010.
- 6060 Englewood residents served by CFA's food pantry in 2010.
- Of the 36,703 Bergen County CFA clients served in 2010, 17,722 lived in Weinberg's district.
How to help:
- Donations can be made online at the CFA website or by calling 201-569-1804 x25. Details on donation packages are also available online.
- The CFA also seeks volunteers. Details are available online.
Also serving Teaneck:
- The Helping Hands Food Pantry on West Englewood Avenue. Click for more information about the local group.