Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a package of six bills aimed at fighting hunger in New Jersey. He stood with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin who has made hunger a priority since taking over as speaker last year.
The bills were designed to address different aspects of the state’s hunger crisis by establishing programs that would work to reduce food waste and to provide communities in food deserts with access to fresh and affordable produce.
The laws also require different departments to get involved in the effort, such as directing the secretary of Higher Education to establish a grant program addressing issues of food insecurity on college campuses. It also directs the chief technology officer to establish an anti-hunger link on the official website of every state executive department that would direct people to a list of all the emergency food programs in the state.
Roughly 900,000 New Jerseyans are food insecure. Nearly one-third of those are children.
The governor spoke on the startling numbers at a news conference following the bill signing.
“In the richest nation in the world, it is a moral failure that so many of our fellow New Jerseyans don’t have enough food to eat,” he said. “This comprehensive approach will allow us to leverage New Jersey’s strengths to better provide for our residents, so families can provide for themselves and their children. I applaud Speaker Coughlin for his leadership in this effort, as well as Senate President Sweeney and all of the sponsors for their hard work and commitment to eliminating food insecurity in New Jersey.”