The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) will host its Fifth Annual Women Fighting Hunger Luncheon virtually on Friday, March 5 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. With no food or beverage costs at this year’s online event, 100% of the Luncheon’s expenses will be generously underwritten by corporate sponsors, so every dollar from ticket sales and donations will support CFBNJ’s mission of providing food, help, and hope to neighbors in need. Sponsorship will be generously provided by Kings Food Markets and PNC Bank. CFBNJ is seeking attendance from each of the 15 counties that it serves to ensure diverse statewide representation (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union, Warren counties). 

The event boasts an impressive lineup of featured guest speakers, including First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy and Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, with program moderator Michelle Charlesworth, Co-Anchor of ABC7 Eyewitness News. The three will engage in a live panel discussion about the state of hunger in New Jersey and nationwide during COVID-19.  

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy’s policy initiatives focus on infant and maternal health, climate change education, and fostering women-owned businesses throughout New Jersey. She is also the founding chair of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, where she recognized the need to act quickly and brought together top New Jersey leaders to deliver critical aid during the COVID-19 crisis. CFBNJ is among the many beneficiaries of NJPRF’s work, having received support for diapers and period supplies, as well as grants for small and medium-sized pantry partners.  

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot is CEO of Feeding America, the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, of which CFBNJ is a member. Prior to joining Feeding America, Claire spent 13 years as a part of Walmart’s leadership team with her most recent role being executive vice president and global treasurer. This year’s Women Fighting Hunger Luncheon will be her first speaking engagement in New Jersey as Feeding America CEO.  

The conversation will be moderated by Michelle Charlesworth, Co-Anchor of ABC7 Eyewitness News. Michelle joined the Eyewitness News team in 1998 and has since become an Emmy Award-winning anchor reporter. She is a strong advocate for CFBNJ and can frequently be seen covering food distribution events. 

“It’s an honor to have three women who have made such significant contributions to the fight against hunger speaking at our Women Fighting Hunger Luncheon,” said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “Though we can’t be physically together this year, this annual tradition is such a powerful and important way to raise awareness and funds to help end food insecurity in New Jersey.”  

The Luncheon will also include time at the end for networking. Furthermore, attendees are asked to help collect and assemble “Dinner in a Bag” meal kits for families and children in need, including items like brown rice, canned chicken, canned vegetables, and more to be dropped off at one of three designated locations.  

In 2020, New Jersey is estimated to have seen a 56% increase in food insecurity as a direct result of the pandemic. With 1.2 million residents unsure of where their next meals will come from, support for this event is more important than ever. Every $250 ticket helps CFBNJ provide 750 nutritious meals for those who are struggling.  

Visit cfbnj.org/luncheon2021 to purchase tickets.