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The Food Brigade launches first "virtual food pantry" in New Jersey, offering clients convenience of online ordering

clients' custom orders placed through New Jersey's first virtual food pantry are assembled for pickup and delivery

Clients of The Food Brigade place custom food orders online in New Jersey's first "virtual pantry" [as appears on Patch.com]

BERGEN COUNTY - A local hunger-relief charity recently launched a new initiative to offer greater food choices and options to North Jersey residents dealing with food insecurity.

Beginning in June, clients of The Food Brigade are now able to place custom orders online, selecting specific items from the nonprofit's Dumont food pantry.

"This is something we'd been planning and preparing for over the course of many months," said Karen DeMarco, President of The Food Brigade. "We wanted to increase our client's sense of autonomy and self-determination, while at the same time promoting privacy and dignity in the food-requesting process."

Clients of The Food Brigade log in to their accounts in the organization's online store, schedule their appointments, and place their orders. Available items include refrigerated and frozen items like chicken, beef, cheese, and eggs, as well as canned and packaged items such as shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, tuna fish, chili, and macaroni and cheese. The group currently serves people in need in nearly 90 North Jersey communities, offering home delivery for sick and shut-in clients who are unable to travel to the facility to pick up their food orders.

"The standard 'client choice' food pantry has clients walk in and pick the food they want off the shelves - but we wanted to move that process online and operate like a 21st-century pantry," DeMarco added. "We're happy to be able to offer our clients the convenience of picking out their items in advance on their smart phones, and then simply going to the pantry for pickup - or having their food orders delivered to their homes without the need to even visit the pantry at all. As far as we know, we're the first 'virtual pantry' in New Jersey."

food order check-in station