Hunger-relief nonprofit The Food Brigade awarded over $200,000 in funding from FEMA
Grant funds will support local charity's programs to feed the hungry and food insecure in Bergen County
DUMONT, N.J. - The Food Brigade Inc., one of the largest hunger-relief operations in northern New Jersey, was recently awarded two grants by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to support its food distribution operations in Bergen County.
"We're very excited that our organization has been chosen to receive these FEMA grants", said Karen DeMarco, President of The Food Brigade. "The funds will help us to feed even more residents of Bergen County who are dealing with food insecurity."
The grant monies are being awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). Out of $1.9 million allocated to Bergen County under the two programs, The Food Brigade has been awarded a total of $201,200.
"We feel it's a good indicator of the impact our organization has had in the area of food security in Bergen County", said DeMarco. "Thanks to our incredible volunteers, we've gotten extremely proficient at getting food into the hands of those who need it the most, on a large scale."
Through its first full year of existence, as of December 31 The Food Brigade had distributed over 3 million pounds of food, over 62,000 gallons of milk, over 16,000 meals, and $25,000 worth of supermarket gift cards to local residents in need. The organization is based out of Calvary United Methodist Church in Dumont, where it maintains a food pantry, holds weekly "drive through" food distributions, and dispatches a fleet of volunteer delivery drivers. The group also helps to stock other local food pantries and relief organizations in the area. "We're like a combination food pantry/food bank/'meals on wheels', all rolled into one", DeMarco commented.
The organization plans to apply the grant funds toward programs for the distribution of food boxes and supermarket gift cards. Any New Jersey resident in need can apply to become a client of The Food Brigade by visiting https://foodbrigade.org/assistance.
The Food Brigade is a Partner Agency of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and distributes food available through such government programs as the USDA's Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and New Jersey's State Food Purchase Program (SFPP).
"No child should ever have to go to bed hungry, and no one in New Jersey should have to deal with food insecurity, so long as there are resources like ours available", said DeMarco. "We plan to continue to expand our operations in 2022, so that we can reach even more people in need."