Gov. Phil Murphy signed six bills and four resolutions into law today flanked by a group of legislators and activists who are leading the fight against hunger and food insecurity in New Jersey.
“Reducing food deserts means fewer children going to school hungry in the morning and to bed hungry at night,” said Murphy.
It is estimated that over 1 million residents in the state do not have adequate access to the amount of food needed for their bodies to be sustained in a healthy manner.
NJEA President Marie Blistan applauded the governor’s decision and reinforced NJEA’s commitment to supporting anti-hunger initiatives, especially for children.
“It is unacceptable for any child to go hungry,” said Blistan, “NJEA will continue to partner with the governor and organizations like Hunger Free New Jersey in the effort to wipe out childhood hunger.”
The bills signed by the governor today that NJEA supported include:
“Hunger-Free Campus Act”; requires Secretary of Higher Education to establish grant program to address food insecurity among students enrolled in public institutions of higher education; appropriates $1 million.
Requires Chief Technology Officer to establish “Anti-Hunger Link” for all state websites, providing information on emergency food services.
Directs Department of Agriculture to establish food desert produce pilot program.
Establishes New Jersey Food Waste Task Force to make recommendations concerning food waste in New Jersey.
Directs Department of Agriculture to establish public awareness campaign for food waste.
Establishes Farm Liaison in Department of Agriculture.
Hunger Free New Jersey (HFNJ), formerly known as the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, is an organization that uses a strategic combination of state and federal advocacy, and local grassroots activism, to take a comprehensive approach to solving hunger.
NJEA works closely with HFNJ to assist with the implementation of mandated anti-hunger programs, such as Breakfast after the Bell, in public schools.
HFNJ Director Adele Latourette was present for the signing of the legislation. She was excited to hear legislators express that today was only a first step in fighting hunger in New Jersey and maintains that there is much more work to be done.
“In a wealthy state like New Jersey we are sometimes lulled into believing that hunger isn’t a problem,” said Latourette. “I can tell you that it is a problem in all of the 21 counties.”