The Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Egg Harbor Township is facing an increased demand.
"In New Jersey, more than one million people don't know where the next meal is coming from,” said Executive Director of the Community Foodbank of New Jersey, Margie Barham.
“In Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, there is about eighty thousand of them."
But with the supply of donations struggling to keep up with the demand for food, empty shelves are becoming an all too common sight.
"I've been here four years. I've not seen it like this. There have been times when you might have a day with a few empty shelves but this has been pretty regular," said Barham.
And while officials say the holiday season typically sees the most donations, the need exists now and hopefully once the word gets out, the donations begin to roll in.
"Its right before people start thinking about giving,” said serving coordinator Shahriar Uddin.
“So maybe if people are thinking about giving, if they can give a little sooner that would be great."
Employees speculate a number of factors could have contributed to the shortage ranging from the tough economy, the government shutdown and even Hurricane Sandy.
"There are some people that have been impacted by sandy that still haven't gotten back on their feet, I don't know if that's the total reason," said Barham.
These empty shelves may be troubling for foodbank employees but they believe the community will respond. The hope is that once the word gets out that donations are needed, residents will respond with the generosity that foodbank employees have seen countless times in the past.
"They’re wonderful, they're wonderful,” said Barham.
“The community is very generous and once they realize there is a need, I am certain they will rise to meet that need."
And now that the word is out, employees have confidence that the community will do their part to not only fill the foodbank's shelves but also fill the stomachs of thousands around South Jersey.
"The public has always come through for us and always supported us so we can thank them enough,” said Operations Director, Andy Applegate.
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