Before the outbreak of COVID-19, an estimated 11 percent of American households were considered food insecure because they did not have consistent access to sufficient food. Food insecurity will likely escalate during the pandemic if workers are forced to take time off from work or lose pay.
To help reduce hunger during this public health crisis, a measure passed the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and the full Assembly on Monday.
The measure (A-3855) was approved by the Assembly 65-0. It would require information on food access programs and resources to be prominently displayed on the main website of the State’s 2-1-1 system. The information would also be disseminating on social media and other appropriate measures. The bill is sponsored by Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), Jean Stanfield (R-Atlantic, Burlington, Camden) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).
The sponsors released the following statements:
Assemblywoman Mosquera: “During any public health emergency, people need to know where to go to find assistance if they need it. That’s where 2-1-1, social media and other resources come in. We have a responsibility to not only make comprehensive programs available, but to raise awareness for their services.”
Assemblywoman Stanfield: “Disseminating information on food access and available resources is an important part of the plan. Accurate, prominent, and timely updates on how and where people can find what they need can help temper some of the uncertainties that people are facing.”
Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle: “That last thing those self-isolating need to worry about is where their next meal is coming from. We must redouble our effort fight hunger and food insecurity in the midst of this pandemic, starting with raising awareness for critical food assistance programs.”