Courtesy of touchnewjersey.org
Starvation. Hunger. Suffering adults and children. Poverty is a serious problem in the world, and in our county: Camden, New Jersey.
According to Hunger Free New Jersey, one in ten New Jersey residents are food insecure, meaning they do not have an adequate, consistent supply of food. That translates to more than 919,000 hungry people. It’s even worse for children, where 13.5 percent of New Jersey children suffered from hunger, translating to more than 268,000 children.
Thankfully, the people suffering in Camden have an organization named Touch New Jersey to help ease the pain and burden of hunger. Touch New Jersey was formed in 2003 to address poverty in the poorest neighborhood of the poorest city in America. This organization provides food and resources to individuals and needy families that survive at or below the poverty level.
On the Touch New Jersey website, Touch is described as a “shopping food pantry” for people living in and around the city of Camden, and has impacted the local residents for the better. Over 10,000 pounds of food is distributed weekly to Touch, receiving foodstuffs from Acme supermarkets throughout South Jersey. Touch also receives bread and pastry from Deluxe Bakery in Runnemede.
The pantry is open on Wednesdays from 9 am to 1 p.m. allowing low-income, elderly and disabled residents to “shop” for fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy, bread and other staples. The residents have shopping carts and shop around the pantry.
The mission of Touch New Jersey is to feed the needy in the senior community. Also, they strive to provide nutritional food for struggling families. Another way they help out is to provide emergency food for those in crisis.
Touch’s operations are staffed by volunteers. The organization could not accomplish what they do without their volunteers. Touch New Jersey is saving many people’s lives.
On the Touch New Jersey´s website Becky Rand, a shopper at the pantry, said, “We are low income, fixed income. Touch pantry supplements our groceries so we do not starve to death.”
Rand and many other members of the Camden community would not be able to survive without Touch New Jersey’s help. Touch picks up vegetables, fruits and dairy from the brand-new Sprouts sprouts farmers market Market on South Broad Street in Philadelphia, and welcomed three volunteer groups recently: AARP NJ, AAA SJ, and AAA Casualty Insurance Group. These volunteer groups came to the food pantry with a surplus of volunteers and cleaned, worked the food line, stocked and unloaded deliveries while the food pantry was running. Touch provides food for the residents in Camden because many of the residents need food or else many would die from starvation.
Gerald Davis, Executive Director of Touch New Jersey, has worked at the pantry for six years.
¨In order for someone to get food they need to provide an address. A homeless shelter would qualify as an address,¨ said Davis.
According to Davis, they will not turn any person away who is in need of food. Two ways the community can help is to volunteer at the pantry and/or donate canned goods.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer all you need to do is complete a basic form. Davis said that high school students are more than welcome to volunteer. If anyone needs service hours or would just like to help out you should call the following number at (856) 803-3030. The pantry is always in need of enthusiastic and compassionate volunteers. You can determine the best place to drop off the canned goods with Davis; he has drop off places all around Cherry Hill and he will find a convenient location.
All information is easily found on touchnewjersey.org. Any way that you can contribute is appreciated.