The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new social needs and economic challenges in local communities, particularly for those who have been vulnerable to hardship. Food pantries have experienced increased demand and the need for food access is likely to continue to increase, including among families who have experienced job layoffs, furloughs, illnesses and deaths.
Recognizing this challenge, members of both the Hackettstown and Newton Medical Centers’ Community Advisory Boards (CAB) donated $20K to the Foodshed Alliance during these times of unprecedented need for food. The Foodshed Alliance is an established, local non-profit based in Blairstown, NJ with a wide network of health, hunger and agriculture partners. Their LocalShare program makes healthy fresh nutrient-dense produce available while simultaneously addressing the issue of food waste on farms.
“One of the objectives of the CAB is to support initiatives that address priority community health needs in the communities we serve," said Maryanne Fox, Newton CAB Chair. "We are honored to partner with LocalShare, especially during these challenging times, to assist them in providing access to quality food to those in need."
These funds will allow the Foodshed Alliance to purchase produce and other farm-fresh items from local farmers for distribution to food pantries and social service providers in Sussex and Warren counties. As a result, it will also strengthen the local economy and provides families in need access to quality food. LocalShare will continue to work with farmers to harvest any excess produce but having the ability to purchase additional food will aid in this time when demand is unprecedented.