Moving Toward a Hunger Free New Jersey
Adele LaTourette, Executive Director, Hunger Free New Jersey, and Steve Adubato discuss food systems in schools and the growing concern of hunger on college campuses.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato, in fact we are coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV studio in Newark, New Jersey. It is my honor to introduce Adele LaTourette, director of an organization called, Hunger Free New Jersey, formerly known as? New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. What's the deal with the name change first of all? We felt it was time for a name change to really reflect our solutions based approach to ending hunger in New Jersey. And really making sure that every person in New Jersey who's hungry has access to healthy food. How bad is the hunger problem? Well it's it's bad. I mean it's not getting better the way it should be when you look at the unemployment numbers. Certainly federally I think what we are seeing is a lot of underemployment. And New Jersey is a very high-cost state, as I'm sure you know. It's interesting, so the high cost of living in New Jersey directly correlates to the serious hunger problem? Absolutely. When you have to spend your money on getting to and from... It's about choices? ...work on gas, it's about having to make a choice with a limited budget. Mm-hmm. It's interesting. I often wonder about the role of government here. State government, federal government, what is the role first of all the state government, and then the federal government in dealing with hunger related issues. Including food insecurity, which we'll talk about in a second. Go ahead. Yeah, I think it's impossible to under play the role of both the federal and state government. Basically the federal government has nutrition programs that are focused on addressing the issue of hunger. And then the state administers them, and I think we are certainly with this administration moving in a direction where we can really expand access to this... Hold on, this administration do you mean the Trump administration... State. At the state level. Or the Governor Phil Murphy administration? Governor Phil Murphy administration. Explain that to us. What is it that you see in the Phil Murphy administration that causes you to say, "Hey there's an opportunity here?" What I see and what I hear in talking to officials in the administration, is they are focused on...they have the same goals as advocates. So they want to make sure that SNAP is accessible to as many people... SNAP stands for? Food stamps. Is it accessible to people as it can be? So we have some policy decisions we can make at the state level to do that. They are looking. We've just had school breakfast legislation passed, so we have a mandate now... What is that? Explain that, so there's a there's a school breakfast mandate? Governor Murphy signed..."