PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (CBS) — There are new closures and new challenges in New Jersey. Making sure those who need food is taking on increased urgency amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Food Bank of South Jersey leaders say they have enough food and anyone who is in need can receive food.
Their biggest concern is making sure their warehouse workers stay healthy so they can continue to distribute food.
“Not being able to be near each other, how do we protect the staff, how do we protect the people that we serve?” asked Greg Delozier, Food Bank of South Jersey senior director of advocacy and government relations.
Those are all questions staff at the Food Bank of South Jersey are beginning to ask themselves as they begin to gear up for an increase in demand for food.
With more businesses shutting their doors due to coronavirus precautions, many who have been laid off have already begun to call the food bank for help.
“It’s just starting within the last day or so. A lot of people who just lost their job are starting to call, but they have a little bit of food from supplying themselves over the weekend. They probably have about a week or so of food,” Delozier said.
Currently, the Food Bank of South Jersey is operating Monday through Friday but leadership is considering expanding its hours.
Delozier says anyone can receive donated food but there are qualifications to be eligible for federal food.
“As people lose their jobs, it’s going to become an emergency situation, similar to the government shutdown, where you can say, ‘I’ve lost my job because of the COVID-19 and will be able to register you and qualify you for food that way,” Delozier said.￼
New Jersey is now dealing with 267 positive COVID-19 cases in the Garden State. Gov. Phil Murphy updated the media in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“I am directing, effective 8 p.m. tonight, the closure of all indoor shopping malls, amusement parks and amusement centers across New Jersey until the current emergency ends,” Murphy said.
As the state continues to keep its residents afloat, Murphy continues to urge residents to follow the suggested guidelines to slow down the spread.
“To anybody out there who still doesn’t believe this is real, believe. Trust us, this is real,” Murphy said.
If you’ve been laid off and are in need of food, click here to find a food pantry near you.