Spring 2023

Food Brigade volunteers

Food Brigade feeds over 15,000 New Jersey residents in need in 1st quarter of 2023

From January 1 through the end of March, The Food Brigade fed 15,036 New Jersey residents dealing with hunger and food insecurity. This included 5,073 children and 1,821 seniors. Just in the month of March alone, The Food Brigade fed 6,363 people in need, as the problem of food insecurity continues to increase in the Garden State.

A novel idea: using abandoned newspaper dispensers as mini-pantries

Over the past few years, New Jersey has seen the spread of little pantry boxes and "blessing boxes", which contain individually-donated non-perishable food items and can be accessed by anyone in need on a "no questions asked" basis. One state has thought "INSIDE the box" and is repurposing newspaper dispenser boxes as little free pantry boxes, with more than 60 communities participating in the project. The issue then becomes how to best keep those self-help pantry boxes filled. READ MORE....

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Food Brigade President Karen DeMarco and Executive Director Carmine DeMarco

Food Brigade named "Best Nonprofit Organization"

At the annual "Best of Bergen" gala on March 8, The Food Brigade was named Best Nonprofit Organization in a readers' poll conducted by 201 Magazine. At less than 3 years old, the organization is honored to have been in the company of the noteworthy charities who were among the finalists. "This recognition is a testament to the work of our volunteers," said Food Brigade President Karen DeMarco. "Without them, The Food Brigade would not be able to make the impact it has in the battle against food insecurity in our state." (Pictured: Food Brigade President Karen DeMarco and Executive Director Carmine DeMarco)

Food-insecure families have higher health care expenses

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine recently conducted a study which found that food insecurity in one year was associated with increased health care expenditures the following year, "regardless of insurance coverage type". "We know that food insecurity has a negative impact on individual health outcomes. But we need a better understanding of the financial implications on families and health care expenditures." LEARN MORE....

Food Brigade co-founder runs for hunger - and for his own cardiac recovery

In May of 2021, Food Brigade co-founder Carmine DeMarco suffered a heart attack while giving out food boxes during a drive-through food distribution. 16 months later later, he was again rushed to the ER with a 97% blockage of the artery which would have resulted in the "widow maker" heart attack had it not been caught in time.

After two cardiac procedures in less than a year and a half, Carmine is fighting his way back to health. He is currently training to run a 5K road race. And on Sunday, April 30, while in Columbus, Ohio visiting his daughter, Carmine will run in the 2023 Hunger Run.

Please support Carmine as he strives to cover the distance, while raising donations for The Food Brigade to continue its work of feeding NJ residents in need. You can make a donation based on each mile he runs, or you can choose your own amount.


Food Brigade earns highest rating from GuideStar/Candid

GuideStar (now Candid) is the world's largest source of information on nonprofit charities, with a database on more than 2.7M organizations. After only 2 1/2 years in existence, The Food Brigade was pleased to earn their Platinum Seal for 2023 - the highest level that GuideStar/Candid awards.

Older adults continue to struggle with food insecurity

A survey conducted by the University of Michigan found that 14% of people aged 50-80 experienced food insecurity. The study further found that food insecurity was linked to worse physical and mental health. Nearly half of those surveyed rated their physical health as fair or poor; almost a quarter rated their mental health as fair or poor. Food-insecure older adults were found to be more likely to have asthma, chronic bronchitis of COPD, diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep disorders. READ MORE....

Food Brigade President featured in national magazine

Food Brigade President and co-founder Karen DeMarco has been featured in REALTOR® Magazine, the monthly publication of the National Association of Realtors®, for her work on behalf of the food insecure in New Jersey. "Our goal is to continue to expand our hunger relief operations by establishing food distribution centers in these food desert regions," said Karen. "We want to be in those areas where the need is greatest." READ THE ARTICLE....

Food Brigade President Karen DeMarco

IKEA helps furnish The Food Brigade's Union City pantry

The Food Brigade was recently able to upgrade its Union City food distribution center, courtesy of IKEA in Paramus. IKEA generously donated 15 work bench tables for use in the pantry's weekly marketplace-style distributions. These sturdy work tables can hold cases and cases of canned food and other items. Thank you to IKEA for partnering with The Food Brigade in the fight against hunger and food insecurity in New Jersey!

Military personnel face barriers to assistance

A recent study found that roughly one-fourth of active-duty service members of U.S. armed forces dealt with food insecurity. Unfortunately, service members who experience food insecurity face unique issues of stigma as well as lack of awareness of resources. "They don't want to signify that they need any help. It has a lot to do with their self-esteem. The military culture prides itself on sufficiency." READ MORE....

Food Brigade partners with veterans organizations for "Food 4 Heroes"

On February 19, The Food Brigade provided food supplies for the "Food 4 Heroes" event organized by the New Jersey Veterans Network. Free groceries were sent to veterans throughout New Jersey in the counties of Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Essex, Union, Sussex, Somerset, Warren, Burlington, Mercer, Salem. The Food Brigade thanks all veterans for their service, and was honored to be able to give back to them in some small way.

Other than food, what do food banks spend money on?

A recent analysis of tax returns of the top 50 food banks in the country looked at their five most highly compensated independent contractors, each of whom received more than $100,000/year. It found that the top contracted-for expenditures were for (a) marketing/fundraising, at 42.7%; (b) transportation services, at 27.7%; (c) staffing services, at 16.1%; and (d) building construction, at 13.5%. READ MORE....

Food Brigade deploys to support Community FoodBank of New Jersey

Late Friday night, March 31, 14 volunteers from The Food Brigade staffed the late shift at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey's 2nd annual 24-Hour Pack-a-Thon. The Food Brigade is a proud Partner Agency of CFBNJ, with emergency food pantries in Bergen and Hudson Counties. #hungerdoesntsleep


The Food Brigade Inc. | Email | 201-614-4414 | Website

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Read past editions of the New Jersey Food Insecurity Bulletin:

Fall 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

The Food Brigade Inc. is a registered tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, EIN 85-3278219.

The Food Brigade Inc. is a registered charity with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Charities Registration Section, Charity Registration # CH4394200. (Registration with the Attorney General does not imply endorsement.)