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Joins Effort to Increase Awareness of Available State Run Programs for New Jersey’s Food Insecure Population
TRENTON – Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez has accepted the Community Food Bank of New Jersey’s challenge, and is spending no more than $31.50 this week on food, the average NJ SNAP benefit for eligible individuals.  In accepting the challenge, she released the following statement:“I’ve accepted this challenge recognizing that my week of participation in no way compares to the difficulties people who are food-insecure face in the long-term, but I congratulate the Community Food Bank of NJ for developing a ‘walk the talk’ awareness campaign.  I know this initiative will prove challenging, but it also will serve as a valuable point of reference in my work as Commissioner.  With an estimated 1 million residents who are not enrolled in NJ SNAP and are food insecure, it’s important that we raise awareness of this important program so that these individuals and families have access to three meals a day. They depend upon a patchwork of resources, including family members, churches, and our communities’ food pantries or soup kitchens for food assistance.”

As of this past September, there were more than 800,000 New Jerseyans enrolled in NJ SNAP. About half – 400,000 - are children. 

NJ SNAP is a federally funded, state administered, food assistance program that provides electronic benefits on debit-like cards for individuals and families who meet the income criteria. In April 2010, New Jersey expanded the program from 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (at or less than $14,157 for an individual or at or less than $29,055 for a family of 4) to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level ($20,147 for an individual or $41,348 for a family of 4).  The average monthly benefit for a NJ SNAP household is about $273.

Updates on the Commissioner’s Food Stamp Challenge experience will be posted on the Department’s website and Facebook page.

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