Hunger & the Pandemic

The extent of hunger in Essex County during Covid is staggering. At a September food distribution by Essex County, 1,000 boxes of food were gone in 2 hours. Many individuals have never had to turn to food pantries and distributions before, but times are different for so many now. The unemployment rate in Essex County is currently 16%, and more than 2,000 of our citizens have died of Covid. About 1.2 million people in the state can’t afford regular access to food, a 33% increase prior to the pandemic, according to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

  • Video: Community FoodBank President & Essex County Executive Discuss Covid-19 Impact on Hunger on CNN on Sept 9. Click here to view. 


Facts on Hunger
  • Hunger exists in every county in New Jersey.


  • More than 900,000 people in New Jersey --- 1 in 10—are food insecure, which means they do not know where their next meal will come from or if they will have something to eat. 


  • Nearly 270,000 children—1 in 7—are food insecure.


  • Essex County (where the IFPO is located) has the highest rate of food insecurity in NJ at 17%.


  • Nationwide, more than 41 million people, or 1 in 8, are food insecure.

  • Nearly 13 million children in the US, or 1 in 6, are food insecure.

  • Almost 50% of people served by the Community FoodBank of NJ have a household member who is working, compared with 3% when the CFBNJ started in 1975.


  • 73% of the households CFBNJ serves choose between spending money on medicine or food. 


  • 72% of the households CFBNJ serves choose between spending money on utilities or food. Meaning in the winter, families are choosing between using the heat or eating. 


  • 77% of the households CFBNJ serves choose between spending money on housing or food. 


  • In the United States, $200 billion a year is spent on healthcare costs related to the lack of food or poor eating. 


            * Source: Community FoodBank of New Jersey Hunger Fast Facts 2019

 If the IFPO Is a Food Pantry, why do you also offer diapers, menstrual care products & toiletries?


Many of our clients receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, which helps them purchase food items including bread, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products. But you cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase other essential items such as diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant or menstrual care products. When the IFPO makes these non-food items available to clients, our clients have more of their own funds available to purchase food for their families.

Diaper Dilemma
  • 1 in 3 American families reports experiencing diaper need-- the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or child clean, dry, and healthy

  • 5.2 million children in the U.S. aged three or younger live in poor or low-income families.

  • Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8.

  • Disposable diapers can cost $70 to $80 per month per baby.

  • No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers.

  • Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large “big box” store can significantly increase the monthly cost of diapers.

  • Most childcare centers, even free and subsidized facilities require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers.

                                          ** Source: National Diaper Bank Network, 2019

Period Poverty
  • One in four women have struggled to purchase period products in the past year due to lack of income.


  • One in four low-income women reports having to use a substitute, like toilet paper or a sock.


  • One in five low-income women reports missing work or school due to lack of proper menstrual supplies.


  • More than one-third of low-income women have had to wear a period product for longer than its recommended use. These actions are unsafe and can lead to dangerous infections. 


                                              *** Source: Girls Helping Girls. Period. 2019