CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Over 800,000 people in New Jersey face hunger — including 1 in 10 children. Many don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The nonprofit Feeding America, which tracks needs in communities across the country, says there are more than 52,000 people facing food insecurity in Camden County. But as Thanksgiving approaches, the Salvation Army is making sure people in the city of Camden don’t go without food this holiday.
“A blessing. It's a blessing to receive something for the holidays,” said Ayesha. “At my house it’s three families, but in my household it’s nine.”
Ayesha had a car packed with about a half-dozen kids as she picked up a Thanksgiving meal at the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in Camden. Hers was one of 1,370 families getting much needed help from their neighbors.
“To me, Thanksgiving is a family event … and for the less fortunate, it can be a depressing time,” said Simona McCleese of Accelerate Church.
McCleese was directing traffic at the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in Camden as the nonprofit gave away turkey dinners for thousands of area residents struggling with food insecurity.
“It is an honor to be able to do this for our families year after year. And we know we can’t do this alone,” Salvation Army Major Lola Sanchez said.
“There’s single moms, grandmas, families with mom and dad in the house — it means all the same to them. It's a blessing. That’s the word they use. They can give back to their families.”
According to Sanchez, they were able to help an estimated 5,000 people, including 3,000 children.
Sanchez says Acme, Victory Church, the Food Bank of South Jersey and others helped put together the meals, but anyone can help. She says it takes an army of contributors, and the Salvation Army takes contributions and accepts volunteers to help those in need year round.