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Food Banks Pleading With DRPA To Release Promised Funds

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(The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is one of four operated by the DRPA.  Photo by John Ostapkovich)

(The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is one of four operated by the DRPA. Photo by John Ostapkovich)

Molly Daly Molly Daly
Molly attended Hallahan High School, LaSalle College, and Temple...
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CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – Local food banks say they’re still waiting for $2 million in funding from the Delaware River Port Authority, approved by the agency more than a year and a half ago but subsequently put on hold.

DRPA voted to grant the funds to food banks in December of 2009. The money was slated to come from its economic development fund, a controversial program that’s funded stadiums, museums, concert halls, and other non-core functions of the DRPA.

But the money spigot was turned off late last year. DRPA chairman John Matheussen says that’s when the board made a decision about grants that were not already under contract.

“It wasn’t singling out the food banks,” Matheussen says. “It just said any monies that were not under contract as of November or December of 2010 were not to be paid out by staff. And staff has honored that. We take instructions from our board.”

But Joe Njoroge of the Food Bank of South Jersey says hunger plays by its own rules.

“They obviously know the need of hunger in South Jersey, and they know it’s something that’s very serious,” he says of the DRPA leadership. “So all we’re asking of them is to follow through with this.”

He adds that the DRPA’s lack of response leaves the food pantries in limbo.

“We haven’t been given a resolute answer whether it’s coming or not, or anything that may have happened with it.  We’ve had conversations with them and all they’ve asked us to do is tell them how we will spend this money. And we have done that on several occasions,” Njoroge told KYW Newsradio.

Reported by Molly Daly, KYW Newsradio 1060

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