GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — As continued isolation and sudden unemployment creates more concern for some about having enough to eat, officials are boosting food programs.
The Camden County Division of Senior and Disabled Services has delivered nearly 9,000 meals to seniors in need since March 18 as part of an expanded, unprecedented effort to ensure that no senior goes hungry during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Last week, all residents previously enrolled in one of the county’s senior meal or dialysis transport programs, equal to roughly 500 residents, automatically began receiving home-delivery of meals. Simultaneously, the Division opened the program to all seniors in need of meals for any reason. More than 1,200 additional seniors have since received meal delivery directly to their homes.
“No Camden County senior will go hungry because they are unable to cook or afraid to go to the grocery store, we will not allow that to happen,” Freeholder Jonathan Young said. “Our team is making hundreds of individual deliveries a day to make sure that our seniors have the resources they need during this crisis. We have increased our storage capacity, and we are in constant contact with providers to make sure that there is a stock readily available if our numbers continue to increase. If you are a senior and are at risk of going hungry, please call us. We will make sure that you are taken care of.”
Most clients will receive seven meals once per week, while others receive meals each day. Drop-offs are performed one day per week and vary by town.
“I can’t say enough about the work of the employees in the division of Senior Services, Public Works, Parks, Building and Ops, and other county employees getting this job done. I can’t possibly thank these public servants enough for their work,” Young continued. “This has been a yeoman’s effort to expand our services and feed this many people, but given the circumstances we will continue to be a safety net and foundational source for our residents,”
Anyone who needs meal assistance can call (856) 374-MEAL or (856) 858-3220 to make arrangements.
Enhanced SNAP Benefits
Many Camden County residents who receive food assistance through the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) will receive an extra benefit payment on March 29. Benefits awarded in April will also be higher than usual, all in an effort to help address critical food needs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The supplemental payments were included in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. On March 29, roughly 205,000 New Jersey households will receive supplemental payments totaling $35 million. Another $35 million will be provided in April.
Supplemental benefits will be loaded directly to SNAP recipients’ EBT cards.
“The Camden County Board of Social Services has been working nonstop throughout the coronavirus crisis to ensure that these critical services continue to be delivered to those who need them,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said. “This crisis has been difficult for families across our community, but there is assistance available. We are grateful that our partners at the federal level are doing their part to protect the most vulnerable.”
Families will receive a supplemental benefit equal to the difference between their regular benefit amount and the maximum benefit for their family size. Families already receiving the maximum allowable SNAP benefit are not eligible for supplemental payments.
For more information please visit www.njhelps.org, or call the Camden County Board of Social Services at (856) 225-8800.