Hudson County District Attorney’s Office is also fighting hunger
Most people have thrown off their masks, many have returned to work and life is returning to its normal course with more than 70% of the state vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But there is no way to protect people from food insecurity.
Thousands of people in Hudson County have yet to recover from the pandemic and rely on community food banks and refrigerators that popped up in the county last year.
The Hudson County Attorney’s Office (HCPO), whose top priority is to send criminals to jail, has taken action on a new front – connecting local community refrigerator operators with farmers in New Jersey against hunger to keep refrigerators fully stocked.
Subsequently, and since last spring, the prosecutor’s office facilitated weekly food pickups for four community refrigerators. In 2020, with the help of HCPO, the four refrigeration sites obtained 950 boxes for a total of 26,600 meals. In the first six months of 2021, they received over 260 boxes for over 41,160 meals.
“We have an incredibly active community outreach program in our office, but when the lockdown was put in place we suddenly couldn’t meet the community face to face,” said Hudson County District Attorney Esther Suarez. “However, that didn’t mean the need for assistance had ceased – in fact, it was quite the opposite.
“One of the areas where we saw the greatest need was access to food. … Partnering with local community groups on this important initiative has been incredibly humbling and rewarding.
Food insecurity has more than doubled due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, affecting around 23% of households in 2020, according to researchers at Northwestern University.
“Each week on Tuesday, either myself or one of our volunteers goes to Kearny to collect food for our pantry, such as rice, oatmeal, shelf-stable milk, beans, potatoes and more, ”said Olga Chechina, organizer of Greenville Community Refrigerator. “We have many families in the community who are waiting for that day when this donation arrives. We are grateful to the Hudson County District Attorney’s Office and everyone who makes this possible every week. “
Every Tuesday, the USS Juneau Hudson County center in Kearny is transformed from a vaccination site to a mass food distribution center, where three semi-trailers of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as long-life supplies are delivered. Then, community groups and local municipalities collect boxes of food for weekly distribution in their communities.
The operation is staffed and operated by several offices and departments in Hudson County, including the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Parks and the Department of Roads.