Helping Students and Families with Food Insecurity in NJ
Steve Adubato sits down with Carlos M. Rodriguez, President & CEO, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, to talk about food insecurity in the state and the efforts to help families and college students have better access to food.
"I'm Steve Adubato. This is State of Affairs. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark. Our honor to once again be joined by Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Good to see you my friend. Good to be here. Some numbers we were talking about before we got on the air. 900,000 people in the state food insecure? Break it down. Break it down. It's a, stubbornly, over 10 percent of the population, for almost as many years. And even... you know, the interesting backdrop is that we have a record unemployment rate. So it just goes to show that the neighbor in need today is, many times, someone who actually has work income, but is making... is having a hard time making ends meet. Carlos, as we put up the website underneath your name, because we've been doing... being involved in public awareness with your organization for a while. We want to let folks know about the Community FoodBank because your work is so important. But tell folks exactly what you do. Well what we do is fuel success by making sure all of our neighbors have the food that they need for that. And so whether you're a child looking to learn or develop and grow into a young adult, or whether you're a parent going to work, or a senior trying to stay active and healthy, that's what food is. Food is the cornerstone of what success can be for an individual. You know, this whole... the numbers game can be numbing, if you will. I often say numbers can be numbing if you have too many of them around. What does that mean? Put that in context. One in seven children in the state of New Jersey is...? This food insecure term versus going hungry. Break that down for us. That means that at any given point throughout the year, they don't know whether they can put food... the next meal on the table. These are children? These are children. These are children and families. These are... going to school on an empty stomach, going home not knowing whether there's gonna be a meal after they try to get their homework done. Or before they get their homework done in some cases. So that's the reality of hunger in our community. You know, I don't like to personalize this, but for those of us who have kids, right? They owe it... And they're so fortunate, we are so fortunate, that they have food. More food sometimes than they want or need, right? That's exactly right. We are now talking about children who don't have food. Break it down. And by the way, we've been very much involved..."