RELEASE: Gottheimer Joins with NJ State Assembly Speaker Coughlin to Combat Hunger, Food Insecurity — Stresses Importance of Universal School Breakfast & Lunch for Students

Apr 06, 2023
Press

Honors Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s March Mega Food Drive Collecting 25,000 Pounds of Food

Above: Gottheimer at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey this week.

PARAMUS, NJ — This week, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined with NJ State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin — New Jersey’s food security champion — to highlight ongoing action across the Garden State and in Congress to combat food insecurity and ensure children are fed in schools. Gottheimer and Speaker Coughlin joined with the Jewish Federation of North New Jersey to honor the Federation’s March Mega Food Drive collecting more than 25,000 pounds of food to donate to organizations across Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson Counties.

Gottheimer recognized Speaker Coughlin’s work — and the work of many in the state’s legislature — to make sure children and families who may be struggling have the resources they need. Speaker Coughlin has helped get multiple pieces of state legislation signed into law to combat hunger, including creating the first state-level Food Security Advocate in the nation to expand the reach of key programs to feed our families in need, a grant program to boost campus resources and support for food-insecure college students, a program to eliminate food deserts, streamlined access to SNAP, and expanded eligibility for free school meals. Last year, Speaker Coughlin sponsored two bills that the Governor signed into law to help provide free meals to 26,000 more New Jersey children and educate parents about school meals program options — something that is so important to making sure our students get fed. Speaker Coughlin also led the New Jersey state delegation to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health last year.

In September 2022, Gottheimer led a bipartisan group of 48 Members of Congress to write to congressional leadership and call for an extension of federally-provided school breakfast and lunch for students in the upcoming government budget vote. Taking this action will help ensure that no student goes through their school day without the meals they need to succeed. Nationwide, this critical program would help feed an estimated 10 million students in need. 

Last month, in March 2023 during National School Breakfast Week, Gottheimer joined with Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-47) to urge congressional leadership to invest in child nutrition programs and provide school meals for all. Without these investments, millions of children will not have access to healthy school-provided breakfast and lunch.

“Speaker Coughlin — New Jersey’s food security champion — and many in the state’s legislature have been incredible leaders in making sure children and families who may be struggling have the resources they need. No one has fought harder against food insecurity in the state than the Speaker — he even led the New Jersey delegation to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health last year,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “In Congress, I’ve been working to make sure we’re addressing food insecurity. It’s been a major priority of mine since day one. I’m especially dedicated to making sure that no child in New Jersey ever has to sit in a classroom, hungry, worried about their next meal, instead of the textbook in front of them.”

Gottheimer continued, “Thank you to the team at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey for the tireless hours it took to organize this project and make it a reality — emphasizing arevut — a core Jewish value that guides us to care for our communities and help make them better places to live and raise a family for all.”

“Year after year, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has brought people together to pitch in to help thousands of families dealing with food insecurity. Hunger is an issue that’s close to my heart. We have enacted historic increases in funding for relief and improved the coordination of public and private sector efforts. It’s heartwarming to see the benefits to communities across the state. None of our neighbors should go hungry,” noted Craig Coughlin, Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly at the event. 

Jason Shames, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, observed, “It was clear after hearing from all of the speakers today that food insecurity remains one of the critical and growing needs in our community. Our efforts to help those who are food insecure is a herculean task. This event was able to highlight important partnerships: our determined and growing volunteer team, our honorable elected officials who work for our communities, and our businesses who form important partnerships with us on these issues so that we can continue to do the work we do.”  

Gottheimer was joined by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, NJ Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, NJ Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, NJ Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, NJ Assemblyman Christopher Tully, NJ Assemblywoman Shama Haider, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco, Bergen County Commissioner Tracy Zur, M&T Bank, Glass Gardens ShopRite, and local volunteers.

Below: Gottheimer at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey this week.

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