Norwescap has been on a mission to increase food security in the region for many years. Our Food Bank has been operating since 1985 to support needs in Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties. We know that food equality shouldn’t mean a choice between paying rent or putting food on the table. When creating financial stability, we have found it is critical to address hunger as the first obstacle
Concern about food insecurity has been a growing issue for Warren County, and this is increasing as the pandemic subsides. There are more than 62,000 people living below the poverty line within our service area, and 120,000 households that struggle to cover basic expenses. While our history positions us well to address these concerns, we have been faced with challenges. Our warehouse property on North Broad Street in Phillipsburg has been rented for more than two decades. We identified that a purchase of the property would allow us to expand and modernize the space to meet our region’s growing needs and get more food out into the communities.
For years we went beyond just dreaming of owning a space and having the capacity and the funds to expand it. We took the next step and started talking about it! If you know anything about manifesting miracles, this is where it all begins, and this is a story of dreams coming true.
We started think-tank sessions to identify New Jersey’s growing needs and creating outside-the-box scenarios where money is no object, “What would we do if we had a million dollars?”. As Covid ravaged our communities, pivoting our work to address food needs, we continued to imagine the steps we needed for a better future of Food Security.
Solutions have happily bubbled up over the past years. Our 2-decade partnership with the landlord of the property led to discussions about a purchase of the building. Yet still, we were left dreaming about winning lotteries or receiving million-dollar inheritances doesn’t happen often in reality. The next steps involved researching grants and applying to ones that fit our scope. For every triumph we reached, it seemed a new obstacle arose. We didn’t give up our dream and more importantly, we kept ambitiously taking the action steps toward them.
On August 9th, an answer arose with the support our entire state of New Jersey behind it! U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) visited us at the Norwescap Food Bank as part of his 2022 Jersey Summer Road Trip. He brought with him the million-dollar dream come true in the form of a $1,050,000 congressionally directed spending (CDS) grant award from the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Nutrition.
We are now positioned to increase our capacity to distribute food by 33 percent and build a new, more modern facility with the purchase of the Phillipsburg property. This physical ownership and expansion of the property leads to greater storing and distribution that will meet the needs of so many families in our community, putting food on their tables in a time of unprecedented need.
“For so many food-insecure and low-income people, Norwescap is a beacon of hope, offering daily meals as well as critical support services that put them on the path to achieving success,” – Senator Booker
We have learned that dreaming big dreams is great, and that by enlisting support is even better. Norwescap is looking forward to many years ahead of creating more food security. We are so honored to be that beacon of hope in this community. To summarize, in words from Mark Valli, our Chief Executive Officer. “Not one person in New Jersey—the Garden State—should ever go hungry, and thanks to the Senator’s support, Norwescap will be in a better position to make sure that we live up to that goal for the people of northwestern New Jersey.”
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Also, September is Hunger Action Month! Read more about what ACTION Norwescap took to address hunger and how you can be a part of it too by reading this article: Norwescap Put the Action in “Hunger Action Month”