Pennsauken, NJ, January 14, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- Nineteen pantries and soup kitchens in four South Jersey counties welcomed essential infrastructure upgrades to their facilities last week, thanks to an Agency Capacity Building Grant awarded recently to the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) by BJ’s Charitable Foundation, which was established with the mission to enrich every community BJ’s Wholesale Clubs serve.
The agencies, all members of FBSJ’s partner network, received equipment from an inventory that included upright refrigerators, upright and chest freezers, adjustable shelves and carts, and hand and pallet jacks purchased and delivered through two suppliers, Sears and Grainger.
Most pantries have inadequate budget for refrigeration, a limitation that restricts their ability to receive and distribute fresh, perishable foods. They typically rely on used storage appliances that are small and inefficient, and tend to focus on sourcing nonperishable items for their clients because it is less risky.
FBSJ CEO Val Traore commented on the significance of seeing BJ’s Agency Capacity Building Grant placed into service.
“These equipment upgrades will create a huge nutrition boost for children, seniors, and families throughout South Jersey,” said Traore. “Helping our partners to distribute more produce and meats to their clients is a significant stride in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. We deeply appreciate BJ’s Charitable Foundation for their role and commitment in making this happen.”
Program personnel at FBSJ estimate that the recently delivered infrastructure upgrades should enable them to distribute approximately 300,000 additional pounds of perishable food annually through the recipient agencies.
“BJ’s is committed to the fight against hunger,” said Mike Waters, regional operations manager for BJ’s Wholesale Club. “Supporting the Food Bank of South Jersey and their local agencies’ need for capacity building will ensure that perishable food can reach the people who need it most in our own backyard.”
Barbara Lentz, who oversees pantry operations at Cedar Lane Missionary Homes in Laurel Springs, NJ, says the new equipment makes planning go smoother.
“We had been relying on donated freezers that were unreliable, so the length of the food storage cycle was short,” said Lentz. “Now, we can store more fresh and frozen food with assurance. We can think ahead, plan ahead, and do a better job of serving the 70 families coming to us for help each month.”
FBSJ was one of 30 food banks to receive an Agency Capacity Grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation. Since 2011, BJ’s has partnered with Feeding America-member food banks, like the FBSJ, to support hunger relief through the BJ’s Feeding Communities program. To date, BJ’s 207 clubs have contributed perishable food totaling more than 27 million pounds, which is the equivalent of nearly 23 million meals.
About the Food Bank of South Jersey
A member of Feeding America, our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, 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.
About BJ’s Charitable Foundation®
BJ’s Charitable Foundation was established with the mission to enrich every community BJ’s Wholesale Clubs serve. The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that primarily benefit the underprivileged in the area of basic needs (hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, education and health). For more information about BJ’s Charitable Foundation, please visit, www.bjs.com/charity/.