Pennsauken, NJ, September 14, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) announced today that its Summer Meals Program (SMP) served 170,000 breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to approximately 3,795 low-income children, from mid-June through September 2.
The 2016 performance represents an 85% increase over the 2015 SMP total, when 92,000 meals were served.
Children benefiting from FBSJ’s SMP were enrolled at 105 “feeding sites,” community camps, day care centers, and vacation bible schools – scattered throughout Camden, Salem, Gloucester, and Burlington counties. Each of these sites was located in a low-income zone, where 50% or more of children qualify for free-and-reduced-price meals at school.
The growth in FBSJ’s SMP is notable because the organization operates as a “self-prep” sponsor; rather than source pre-made meals from a food services vendor, FBSJ procures fresh food from wholesalers and relies on the dedication of staff and strong support from volunteers to prep and pack an average of 3,000 meals daily that are transported to the sites.
“To have nearly doubled the impact of our Summer Meals Program this year took an exceptional effort from our direct services and operations teams,” noted Val Traore, FBSJ Chief Executive Officer and President. “And of course, a program like this cannot happen without help from hundreds of dedicated volunteers and donations from many business partners. I salute their generosity and community spirit.”
During the 2016 SMP, Virtua Health provided FBSJ with free use of commercial kitchen space in Camden that served as a food preparation hub. Bimbo Bakeries (Mount Laurel) donated an average of 600 loaves of bread weekly during the 12-week program. Bentley Truck Services loaned FBSJ several 18-foot box trucks needed for daily delivery routes.
Summer Meal Program at FBSJ: Inside the 2016 Numbers
· The number of feeding sites participating in SMP increased from 45 in 2015 to 105 in 2016.
· The site breakdown by county: Camden (54), Salem (27), Gloucester (18), and Burlington (6).
· The total number of meals delivered was 170,000. The percentage breakdown for each type of meal delivered: breakfasts (33%), lunches (45%), and snacks (22%).
· 2,419 volunteers supported the Summer Meals Program.
· Volunteers donated 8,602 hours of service.
· During Week 7, the peak of the program, 18,138 meals were delivered for an average of 3,627 daily.
· The average attendance per feeding site was 45 children.
· The largest attendance was 220 children at Bell Oaks Elementary School in Bellmawr; the smallest attendance was 10 children at Oak Integrated Care in Medford.
· Delivery-route drivers logged 2,727 miles.
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. In 2015, FBSJ provided 10 million pounds of food to nearly 200,000 South Jersey residents. FBSJ is a member of Feeding America, our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. To learn more visit www.foodbanksj.org.