TRENTON — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, The Food Bank of South Jersey, Mercer Street Friends and Norwescap to help prevent food waste, Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher announced.
The campaign will inform residents and businesses about what can be done to help prevent food waste. Billboards, social media ads and radio spots will provide suggestions for food waste reduction and direct people to the new website for more information.
September is Hunger Action Month, which includes New Jersey Food Waste Prevention Day on Sept. 17 and the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on Sept. 29.
“Learning how to be more efficient with food allows individuals and businesses to maximize their budgets while reducing food waste,” Fisher said. “This helps empower us to make more positive impacts economically and environmentally.”
It has been calculated that 40 percent of all food is wasted at an average of $2,200 per household in the United States each year. With that in mind, the campaign’s goal is to make everyone more aware of what can be done to prevent food waste by providing resources at www.MoreMealsLessWaste.com.
The site includes information on how to support food banks, including how to give food, make monetary donations or volunteer. It also offers suggestions on how consumers can save money and prevent food waste. Additionally, it has tips on how to store dry food, different methods to raise or give money and various ways to volunteer.
In response to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community FoodBank distributed more than 30 million nutritious meals from March through July this year, many of them to people who were in need for the first time.
“Since the pandemic began in March, we have seen an unprecedented increase in requests for food assistance and connection to other essential resources, like SNAP,” Community FoodBank President and CEO Carlos Rodriguez said. “We want people and businesses to know that whatever they can give, whether it’s food, funds, or time, is essential to our mission to combat food waste and hunger in New Jersey.”
With locations in Hillside in Union County and Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County, Community FoodBank works with a network of over 1,000 partner agencies to serve 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties, which also include Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties. The Food Bank of South Jersey is in Pennsauken in Camden County and also serves Burlington, Gloucester, and Salem counties; Mercer Street Friends is in Ewing in Mercer County and Norwescap is in Phillipsburg in Warren County and also serves Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties.