Pennsauken, NJ, March 30, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ), a hunger-relief organization that helps meet the needs of 173,000 food-insecure people across four South Jersey counties, will host a visit on April 1 from Kevin Concannon, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.
Under Secretary Concannon will be joined by Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture; James Harmon, Regional Director for Child Programs; and Val Traore, FBSJ Chief Executive Officer.
The visit shines a spotlight on both the challenges and successes experienced by non-profit organizations like FBSJ, whose mission relies on a blend of state and federal funding, corporate partnerships, institutional and private donations, and a network of industrious volunteers.
One such challenge is FBSJ’s Summer Feeding Program, which will seek this year to provide 1,300 children with daily lunches and snacks to address the summertime gap created when school-assistance programs turn off.
FBSJ is implementing its own food preparation and delivery system, for the Summer Feeding program this year. The transition is expected to improve service delivery without reliance on non local vendors, but donations from local vendors – for food, plastic cutlery, and paper products – as well as the helping hands of hundreds of volunteers to prep and deliver the food – are still needed for FBSJ to make it happen.
“Of the 21 million children who receive free and reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program during the school year, only 3.5 million participate in USDA summer meal programs,” noted Concannon. “The commitment of the Food Bank of South Jersey to sponsor summer feeding sites will help narrow this hunger gap by making sure local children have access to nutritious meals when school is out this summer.”
A Signpost of FBSJ’s Resolve: Just Peachy Salsa
During his tour, Under Secretary Concannon is expected to see demonstrations that are part of FBSJ’s Healthy Living Initiative, a series of cooking and nutrition education classes that promote healthy eating behaviors and self-sufficiency to a wide range of audiences in the South Jersey community, from toddlers to seniors.
He will also get to sample FBSJ’s Just Peachy Salsa – a commercially-available product developed in partnership with Campbell Soup and Summit City Farms is sold through farmer’s markets and supermarkets. Notably, the peaches used in the salsa had initially been earmarked for landfills because of slight imperfections. FBSJ worked with local farmers to salvage 800,000 pounds of peaches, enabling the farmers to reduce dumping fees while simultaneously creating a revenue stream for FBSJ to enhance its own sustainability.
At the conclusion of his tour, Under Secretary Concannon is expected to field questions from media and FBSJ staff. The USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services works in partnership with state and local organizations, administering and funding programs that help feed an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population.
About the Food Bank of South Jersey
The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) is the leader in providing safe and nutritional food to people in need throughout South Jersey. FBSJ distributes food, provides nutrition education and cooking courses, and helps food insecure families and seniors find sustainable ways to improve their lives. To learn more visit www.foodbanksj.org