The Severity of Hunger in NJ
Debra Vizzi, President and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, discusses the severity of hunger in New Jersey and how the FoodBank is working with their community partners to distribute food to those in need year-round.
"We are pleased be joined by our good friend Debra Vizzi, who is President and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, a great organization which is? The largest anti-hunger, anti-poverty organization in the state of New Jersey. And I'll tell you, you make such a difference everyday. Can we go through some stats? Sure. Debra and I were going through this, she's been with us many times, but these numbers are extraordinary. Nearly 1,000,000 food insecure New Jerseyans, almost 300,000 of them are kids. That's one in seven children. Come on! It is. It's really startling. And 50 percent of the people that are seeing us in food pantries and soup kitchens around the state have a working member in their family. So the needle has really shifted for us. Essex still has the highest food insecurity in the state of New Jersey, with Cape May following with the highest food insecurity for children. Why? Probably seasonal work. Also they were very severely hit by Sandy. Slow recovery... All these years later? Yeah. Also the casinos and the shift in the employment scene there is really changing access to food for kids. Big time. And then of course just having, you know, Atlantic County be sort of the hub, but Cape May and Cumberland County, really struggling. By the way, as we are talking to Debra, we want to put up the website for the Community Food Bank. People can volunteer, people can make a difference, people can help others in need? Absolutely. I mean, we can't do this alone. I mean, this is a movement, and I think one of the things that we come away with every time we talk, is that people do acknowledge that there's hunger, but they don't think it's in their community. I have a lot... They're wrong? Yeah. They're wrong. There is hunger and food insecurity in every county in the state of New Jersey. We are a visible, active movement in every county in the state, because there are hungry people. I think the thing that we want to also address with New Jerseyans is that when they do donate, that they should be mindful that not everyone has access to ovens, places to cook, and that during this season of the year... We happen to be doing this during the holiday season of 2017, the end of '17, going into '18. Go ahead. Yeah, but this season, you know, people are having to cook and then using... having soaring costs and utilities. That's something that we really are being very mindful of, because people make really tough choices about that. Well, you know, it's that... heat or eat? Absolutely. So you know..."