For 100 years, the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, Inc. (JLOSH) has been making a difference in the community. Our current focus is improving the health and well-being of school children living in poverty.
Over 1 million people are food insecure in New Jersey1 - almost 400,000 of those are children. In Essex County one in five children experiences poverty2 and families frequently have to choose between buying food and paying rent or utility bills3. Food insecure children don’t develop and grow as well as others. They may have more difficulty learning and may not do as well in school. They are more likely to get sick and be hospitalized.4
To help address the issue of childhood hunger, JLOSH volunteers packed over 1,000 weekend food bags for kids at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside on October 20 during our first Centennial Community Impact Day. Over 20 volunteers assembled the food bags, which contained cereal, milk, juice, a pasta meal, and a meat meal, with fruit being added later.
The Community FoodBank’s “BackPack Program” provides food to children who are food insecure over the weekend. The food packages are picked up weekly by participating schools where staff members distribute them in backpacks, which are also donated by the program. During the 2010-2011 school year, 2265 children participated in the program from 32 schools in New Jersey.
JLOSH’s next Centennial Community Impact Day event will be to assemble and deliver Thanksgiving meals to families in Orange and East Orange.
1 Feeding America’s Map the Meal Study, 2010
2 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2009
3 Community FoodBank of NJ
4 Feeding America