Bank of America has enjoyed a nearly 20-year relationship with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, an organization that has been fighting hunger since 1975, when founder Kathleen DiChiara started distributing food out of the back of her station wagon.
Today, the FoodBank distributes 44 million pounds of food a year to more than 1,000 community partners, including local soup kitchens and food pantries. Through this unique collaboration, Bank of America and the FoodBank help feed men, women and children facing hunger year-round.
The Bank supports the organization financially, as well as through volunteer efforts – like packaging and distributing food. In 2011, the Bank contributed $1 million to the FoodBank as part of the organization’s $15 million capital campaign.
“Bank of America has been a valued, long-standing partner in our mission,” said FoodBank President and CEO Debra Vizzi. “Their ongoing support means we can reach even more struggling families and connect them with the critical resources they need to lead happy and healthy lives.”
Hunger is a pressing need for many New Jersey residents. More than one million people in the state don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Almost 340,000 children in New Jersey face hunger -- nearly 1 in 5.
“The FoodBank is faced with a number of challenges,” said Robert Doherty, Bank of America’s President in New Jersey. “So many families in our communities still struggle to find enough to eat, so it’s important that we play a role in supporting this worthy organization with our financial and volunteer support. It would be hard pressed to find a more deserving organization.”
What makes the Community FoodBank of New Jersey unique is its reach beyond its original mission of sourcing and distributing food. Through its important child feeding programs, the FoodBank works with schools in high-need districts to provide nourishing after-school meals, bags of food for the weekend, essential feeding programs in summer months and nutrition education for children.
The FoodBank also runs a job-training program. The Food Service Training Academy teaches students about the culinary field and life skills. Many students had been previously incarcerated or faced other challenges, so the program provides a fresh start.