New Jersey Food Banks and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ have a multi-year commitment to "increasing the stock of healthy foods"

New Jersey Food Banks and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ have a multi-year commitment to “increasing the stock of healthy foods”

Unique Partnership Objectives to Achieve Food Security and Improve Health

New Jersey Food Banks and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ have a multi-year commitment to “increasing the stock of healthy foods”

Hillside, NJ – October 4, 2022

More than 175,000 children in New Jersey are food insecure, lacking continuous access to nutritious foods and other basic necessities they need to grow up healthy.

Yesterday, the five New Jersey food banks – Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), South Jersey Food Bank, Fulville, Mercer Street Friends and NORWESCAP – partnered with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon) at an event to Launching a new distinctive initiative, “Cultivation of healthy foodstuffs”. This initiative is made possible by a $200,000 investment from Horizon through its charitable arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, to help build the capacity of food pantries across the state and address the need for food distribution in New Jersey to focus on selection and nutrition.

The first phase of this 18-month pilot initiative will focus on developing a toolkit to provide local stores with the knowledge, resources, and framework for developing nutrition policy, increasing healthy food choices, and providing comprehensive basic services that address factors that lead to food insecure individuals and families. If the pilot phase is successful, phase two will focus on engaging partners and other funders and spreading the model statewide.

said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. “Food banks in New Jersey are grateful to the Horizon Foundation for the New Jersey Partnership and their commitment to addressing the social determinants of health.”

Fred C. said: “Together, we are empowering our neighbors across the state to deliver positive outcomes for a healthier tomorrow.”

“This year, Fulfill has committed that 60 percent of the food we distribute to our stores will be either produce, protein, and dairy. We know that these foods are the most in-demand, and they’re also the most nutritious and the most expensive—making them the most affordable on a budget. “All people should have access to these foods, so that their families eat as healthy food as possible,” said Triada Stampas, President and CEO of Fulfill. “On behalf of Fulfill and our pantry network, I commend the Horizon Foundation for supporting this work as a statewide initiative. Until it reaches all our neighbors in need.”

“In a very special way, food brings people together. Food banks and stores do more than just provide nutrition.” Courtney Matlock, Head of Development and Marketing, Mercer Street Friends, said, “The Mercer Street Friends Food Bank is opening its doors that allows us to coordinate comprehensive support for students and provide Resources for Parents.” “The Growing Healthy Pantries Initiative is a commitment to building stronger families in New Jersey. Horizon is an important partner in achieving health equity through equal opportunity in terms of increasing opportunities for healthy living.”

Food bank leaders and representatives from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey spoke at the event, introducing “Growing Healthy Pantries” and its goals to attendees. Research shows that people living in food insecure families struggle to obtain nutritious foods and face barriers to continued adoption of healthy eating patterns. New Jersey food banks are uniquely positioned to address the link between food insecurity and health, and while focusing on hunger as a health issue is not new to hunger relief organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the link between hunger. And health is in sharper focus. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on underserved and under-resourced communities that also suffer from higher rates of nutrition-related diseases, such as diabetes. Through Growing Healthy Pantries, organizations come together to make an unprecedented commitment to promoting greater health equity.

Healthy New Jersey starts with good, healthy food. Jonathan R. said: • Pearson, Horizon Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Horizon Foundation of New Jersey. “This is truly an example of a partnership where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Through Growing Healthy Pantries, we bring together organizations that have been at the forefront of Nutrition New Jersey and New Jersey’s largest and most trusted health insurance company to amplify our impact, improve food security, and promote greater health equity. .”

About the New Jersey Community Food Bank

Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a member of Feeding America®, has been providing food, help, and hope throughout the state for more than 45 years. Last year, CFBNJ provided nutritious food to more than 85 million meals through its network of more than 800 community partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and senior nutrition programs throughout the 15 New Jersey counties it serves. For our hungry neighbors, the New Jersey Community Food Bank is a powerful agent of change that fills the void caused by hunger and provides the resources needed for sustainable livelihoods.

About the South Jersey Food Bank

The South Jersey Food Bank believes that no one should go to bed hungry. Since 1985, he’s served children, families, and seniors in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties by distributing safe and healthy foods, providing nutrition education and cooking courses, and developing sustainable pathways for neighbors to improve their lives. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and member of Feeding America, distributed nearly 15 million meals in 2021, through direct distributions and its network of more than 200 partner agencies. Help end hunger in South Jersey. Visit FoodBankSJ.org.

Fulfill has been catering to families on the Jersey Shore for over thirty years. We provide more than 972,000 meals per month by distributing food to nearly 300 feeding agencies in Monmouth and Ocean, including soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters, and by delivering food to families, children, seniors, veterans and more.

Fulfill also offers a suite of programs to connect people with the resources they need to be self-sufficient. Our team helps with applications for SNAP, affordable healthcare, and Medicaid. They also help with affordable housing applications, budgeting and money management, utility expenses, and senior services. To learn more about our programs or how to get involved, visit www.fulfillnj.org.

About Friends of Mercer Street

As a non-denominational 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with Quaker, Mercer Street Friends is dedicated to nurturing minds and bodies, and empowering families and communities by providing comprehensive programs to address poverty and the physical and emotional trauma it causes to children, families and society. Our programs focus on: Food, Families, and Education.

As the primary source of food donated by the government and the private sector, the Mercer Street Friends of Food Bank leads the community response to hunger in Mercer County. In 2020, the Food Bank directed more than 5.5 million pounds of food into a network of more than 100 food pantries, shelters, school districts, soup kitchens, meal sites, senior centers, special needs programs, and low-income housing sites. Over the course of the year, the Mercer Street Friends team served more than 100,000 individuals, provided 50,000 weekend community food bags, for a total of 800,000 weekend meals to families across the county.

Norwescap provides vital, life-sustaining services to more than 30,000 individuals and families in need in northwest New Jersey. Our programs include strategies that address the critical areas of education, health and wellness, employment, housing, volunteerism, and financial empowerment. Since our inception, we have been dedicated to fulfilling the mission of creating life-changing opportunities through innovative programs and partnerships. For more information, please visit the website www.norwescap.org.

About the Horizon Corporation of New Jersey

The Horizon New Jersey Foundation is the charitable arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Jersey. Its mission is to make New Jersey healthier by supporting nonprofits that expand access to health care, remove barriers to good health and increase opportunities for everyone to lead the healthiest life possible, no matter who they are or where they live. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey are independent licensors of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit the website HZNFoundation.org.

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