Hillside, NJ -  During a press conference at the Community FoodBank in Hillside, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex)  announced a series of bills aimed at tackling the hunger gap faced by many families in the state.  Mr. Coughlin said each bill is a meaningful step in addressing broader hunger concerns, such as food deserts, poverty, access to state programs and resources and excessive food waste.  The Speaker has made the issue a centerpiece of his legislative agenda.

According to Mr. Coughlin's office, the bills in the package include legislation that would establish an “Anti-Hunger” link to be posted on all state government websites, listing all of the state’s food programs including food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens; two bills addressing food insecurity among students on college campuses – The Hunger Free Campus Act- and reimbursing school districts that purchase NJ grown produce for their school breakfast and lunch programs; and also a measure that would enact the “Food Desert Elimination Act” by establishing incentives to attract and retain qualified supermarkets in the state’s food deserts.

 “Too many families in New Jersey have to choose between paying their bills and eating a nutritious meal. In our urban and rural communities, some families live more than a mile away from a supermarket, limiting their access to healthy food options,” said Mr. Coughlin.  “These bills not only address the rising number of young children affected by hunger but also the increasing trend of hunger surfacing on our college campuses. We’re improving access to state resources, engaging food banks and bringing together schools and state departments to fight hunger in New Jersey.”

“Direct legislative action to combat hunger is long overdue in New Jersey,” said Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey Executive Director Renee Koubiadis.  “I applaud the efforts of the Speaker and Assembly members to turn the spotlight on the hunger crisis being faced in many homes and communities throughout the state.”