TRENTON — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher reminded New Jersey taxpayers about an opportunity to assist those in need in the Garden State through a fund that pays for food purchases at the state’s food banks. Contributions to the Community Food Pantry Fund can be made while filling out the 2014 New Jersey income tax forms this year.
Since the Community Food Pantry Fund check-off was created in 2010, more than $86,000 has been distributed to Community Foodbank of New Jersey, Hillside; Food Bank of South Jersey, Pennsauken; FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune; Southern Regional Food Distribution Center, Vineland;Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Ewing; and NORWESCAP, Phillipsburg. The money was used to purchase healthy foods to distribute to the hungry through food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
“There is a growing need for emergency food in New Jersey and this fund directly helps the people who need it most,” said Secretary Fisher. “Using the Community Food Pantry Fund check-off is an easy, simple way to become involved and help fellow New Jerseyans.”
The check-off was first available on the 2010 tax year forms. It allows taxpayers to either contribute a portion of their tax refund or make a donation. Money collected for the fund administered by the Department of Agriculture must be used exclusively for food purchases. Those wishing to contribute should enter the code “09” on Line 64 to designate this check-off item on their NJ-1040 income tax form.
“Donating to the food banks is an investment in your community,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Food banks play an essential role in preventing food insecurity and they offer an invaluable support for the food pantries and communities in need.”
The fund was the result of recommendations from the state’s Hunger Prevention Advisory Committee in an effort to create an on-going funding stream to assist with the acquisition of emergency food to enhance the emergency food provider system.
Governor Christie and the State Legislature allocated $6,818,000 for the current fiscal year for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture State Food Purchase Program (SFPP).
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture distributes United States Department of Agriculture-donated food to the six food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, as well as distributes funds from the State Food Purchase Program.