New Jersey News

Food pantries struggle after Sandy

Monday, November 12, 2012

Without power for five days after the storm, Elizabeth Schuller lost all the fresh food she had. Since then, she and her two daughters have been eating the same things.

"Beans and noodles with butter. And it makes me feel bad to complain but there are only so many beans and butter and noodles that you can eat," Schuller said.

Elizabeth came to the Center for Food Action in Saddle Brook for help. She got a bag of groceries, but it's not enough to last her until December 1, when she will get more food stamps. The former teacher is looking for work, but has been unemployed for a year.

"I'm better off than a lot of people, but I still need to find where I'm going to get more food because that's not going to make it," she said.

The Center for Food Action provides food for almost 5000 low-income families in Northern New Jersey every month. The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has meant hundreds more families who need help and fewer donors, unable to give food because they are too busy coping with their own post-storm issues.

"We are in crisis ourselves right now to make sure everyone will have enough to put food on their table," Patricia Espy, Center for Food Action," said.

Thanksgiving is ten days away and the CFA is missing some key staples. The shelf for cranberry sauce is empty, and the shelves for canned meat and beans are almost bare as well.

The Center for Food Action has registered 1800 families who will receive Thanksgiving meals. As of Monday afternoon, the CFA had only collected 400 turkeys, so they need 1400 turkeys in the next week to meet the demand.

"I'm terrified we don't want to turn anybody away and we haven't, especially when people have been thru so much, it would be tragic if we can't give them what they need during this time," Espy said.

A truck load of food and baby items from a mom in Pennsylvania, who rallied her friends and co-workers to give to those in need, arrived on Monday.

"I'm excited. I know people are going to get the things we need," donor Tara Brady-Sbei said.

Schuller hopes others will follow Tara's example, to ensure that everyone can enjoy a true Thanksgiving meal, with more than just pasta and canned beans.

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ONLINE:

Center for Food Action

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Tags:
new jersey, hunger, hurricane sandy, donation, food, new jersey news, jen maxfield
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