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New Jersey Food Pantries See Decrease In Donations

A family receives food from a pantry. (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A family receives food from a pantry. (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey’s largest food pantry is asking for help.

The Center for Food Action in Englewood has seen donations steadily go down and last week’s Action Against Hunger Food Drive fell short of expectations.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

Over the past few years donations have dropped between 25 and 30 percent, but the number of people in need has increased over 50 percent since 2008, said spokesperson Jennifer Rothman.

“We’re seeing folks who used to be donors now coming back as clients and that is particularly disturbing,” Rothman said.

The decline in donations means the food pantry may have to scale down, possibly cutting back the size of their monthly food packages.

“Does this mean that we’re going to have to cut back? It could. Does it mean we may not be able to give as much food? That could happen as well,” Rothman said. “We’re trying to adjust and juggle depending on how many more people come to us.”

“If things don’t change, we are going to definitely have to cut back on the amount of food we give out to our clients each month,” Rothman told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The food shortage could also impact the center’s annual Thanksgiving dinners.

“We are very concerned with what lies ahead in terms of being able to provide food for Thanksgiving as we always have, but we’re not sure yet if we’re going to be able to sustain the level we’ve been typically able to provide,” Rothman said.

The hard times facing the food bank could also impact those who rely on part-time work at CFA to help make ends meet.

“You’ve got your electric, your water bills, your mortgages, your rents, your car insurances,” said contractor Thurman Williams, who sometimes works for the food bank when business is slow.

The organization operates seven pantries in Bergen County and one in Passaic County.

Donations can be made online at actionagainsthunger.com.