NEW JERSEY 101.5

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season just around the corner, the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is facing a higher need than ever.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

More than 127,000 people, including working families, the disabled and seniors, will need help getting food on the table during the holidays according to director Carlos Rodriquez.

Last year after Sandy donations skyrocketed, but a year later they have all but fallen off to pre-storm levels.  Rodriguez said the demand remains high because many people are still displaced or financially insecure from the storm. Additionally, cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are also creating a demand increase.

He said during the holiday season the biggest needs they find are for proteins like frozen turkeys, ham and chicken.  “It’s always something that we see a need in, and it’s not something that we can necessarily collect at one of our food drive bins.”

While food drives and product donations from residents are vital, Rodriguez said they rely on cash donations which allow them more power to purchase items in bulk quantities, as well as coordinate the transportation of large donations.

“For every dollar donated to the FoodBank, it generates and supports three meals. It allows us to bring in donations from farms and other areas."

Part of the FoodBank’s goal is to provide nutritious and quality calories wherever possible, particularly from fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Last year we distributed over a million pounds of fresh produce this year we want to distribute over a million and a half pounds,” said Rodriguez.

He said while hunger is more prevalent during the holidays, it’s present year-round.

“While this is a time of year when we think about hunger and we want to make sure to make sure everyone has a hot meal for Thanksgiving, the need is really year round and families that experience hunger during the holidays will unfortunately probably need help come the New Year as well.”