One of the most pressing issues facing the City of Passaic, Passaic County, the state of New Jersey, and beyond is food insecurity. According to the 2022 U.S. Census Bureau survey, one in 13 New Jersey households reported not having enough to eat. Additional data from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey confirmed that 800,000 New Jersey residents are food insecure.
An already pressing issue was amplified by COVID-19. The number of food stamp recipients increased from over 760-thousand in September 2020 to over 887-thousand in September 2021 - an increase of over 15-percent.
In February 2022, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority released a list of the state’s top 50 food deserts. The City of Passaic has ranked No. 10 statewide and the highest-ranked area in Passaic County ahead of Paterson South (No. 13), Paterson North (No. 15), and Prospect Park/Haledon/Hawthorne (No. 34).
United Passaic Organization is dedicated to fighting food insecurity in the City of Passaic.
UPO offers a food and nutrition program in partnership with the ShopRite of Passaic. Qualifying low-income families/individuals residing in Passaic can receive vouchers for food assistance. The vouchers are worth between $50 and $150 depending on family size. Because this is an emergency assistance program, a client must wait at least two months before requesting an additional voucher. Vouchers can only be received by appointment.
Food Voucher Qualifications/Requirements
- Must be present on the date of appointment
- Picture Identification
- Social Security Card of all members in the house
- Proof of income (must be low-income or facing financial hardship to qualify)
- Proof of address (lease or utility bill) (Must live in the City of Passaic)
- Intake Form completed
Devastating damage from Hurricane Ida forced the closing of UPO’s previous food pantry but we are excited to announce that we will be opening a full-service food pantry on Tuesday, May 24 located at Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church (163 Autumn St, Passaic, NJ 07055).
UPO has partnered with fellow Community Action Agency, United Community Corporation to utilize the UCC Cafe Mobile Feeding Program to provide hot, pre-packaged meals to the City’s residents without an address on Saturdays at Mt. Pilgram Missionary Baptist Church.
It is not only important to address food insecurity but also to promote nutritional living. Throughout the year, UPO will host various food education workshops providing individuals and their families with the knowledge to identify healthy food on a budget.
Workshops range from various topics including:
- Cooking for large families
- General Nutritional Classes
- Healthy Living
- Super Market Tours
- Utilizing food pantry items to create healthy meals
For more information about UPO’s food assistance programs, contact Food and Nutrition Coordinator Menna Fahmy at [email protected].