41 organizations receive support as Fund responds to community needs
Philadelphia, July 29, 2020 — Reinvestment Fund today announced $700,425 in emergency meal grant awards under the New Jersey Child Nutrition Fund (NJCNF) program to 41 organizations that are helping to make sure children and families get healthy food to eat at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal channels.
The program targeted participants in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) who have been working to ensure the continuity of meal services through the pandemic-related disruptions.
“We partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish NJCNF more than a year ago to increase access to healthy, nutritious meals for children at risk of food insecurity,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “As schools and community centers closed and food insecurity fueled by the pandemic began to rise, it became imperative for us to quickly get these resources to organizations that are making sure that children and families can get the meals they needed.”
“In one of the wealthiest states in our country, it is unconscionable that we are struggling to feed our children,” said Marco Navarro, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Children cannot learn, grow, or thrive if they are hungry. We can and must do better for every child in New Jersey, and these awards will help to ensure continuity of access to nutritious foods during the pandemic.”
For these emergency meal grants, NJCNF prioritized programs serving rural areas and/or southern NJ counties, children not currently being served by their School Districts, and higher numbers of children. The 41 organizations selected for grants serve an estimated 78,798 meals every week. Awardees include early childhood education providers, community recreation centers and community-based organizations. Some facts about the grantees:
- 56% were in south and/or rural districts
- 76% are led and/or owned by women
- 54% are led and/or owned by people of color
In addition to responding to immediate needs resulting from the pandemic, these investments will help awardees expand or improve their program implementation or reach in the long term.
Among the awardees is the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center, which serves people in and outside of Atlantic County. Prior to the pandemic, the Center served children over the summer when they were not in school. With the pandemic-related closure, the Center now serves emergency student lunches through a grab-and-go service operated in their parking lot. They also offer an outdoor food pantry that distributes bagged food, including non-perishable canned foods, dry foods, fresh produce (when available) and frozen meats.
Prior to receiving the NJCNF grant, the Center served approximately 125 meals per week with the emergency student lunch program. They simply did not have the capacity to serve more and were limited in their choices of fresh produce, dairy and frozen products.
“There were times where we had to turn free donations away from farms because we didn’t have enough refrigeration for fresh produce,” said Quentin McClendon, Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center. With the NJCNF grant, the Center plans on purchasing additional refrigeration equipment and increasing staff personnel, which will benefit both the food pantry and the emergency summer lunch program.
NJCNF continues to offer capital and technical assistance to providers as part of its program. The assistance is available to those who participate or wish to participate in federal meal programs. The SFSP provides free meals and snacks to help children and teens in low-income households get the nutrition they need throughout the summer months, when they are out of school and do not have access to school breakfast and lunch programs. CACFP provides reimbursement for meals and snacks for eligible children enrolled for care at participating childcare centers, childcare homes or afterschool programs.
In addition to increasing the number of low-income children receiving meals in childcare and community-based settings, NJCNF aims to facilitate the use of fresh, local and ethnically appropriate food whenever possible and to improve the financial health of childcare operators, sponsors of community-based meal programs and the meal vendors that serve them.
View a full list the awardees in the NJCNF Emergency Meals Grants Award Summary.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We are dedicated to ensuring that people in all communities have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food, schools where their children can succeed, and strong, local businesses that support quality jobs. Using analytical and financial tools, we strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and create resilient communities, where everyone can thrive and prosper. Learn more at reinvestment.com.