TOMS RIVER, NJ — Needy families will be provided Thanksgiving meals, including turkeys, on Friday at two food distribution sites in the Toms River area that have been providing meal kits since April to help those who have been left hungry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The distributions, which are marking their 35th week, will start early and go until the meal kits run out, organizers said. People in need are encouraged to arrive early as they anticipate longer lines than usual.
The distribution at South Toms River Elementary School on Dover Road usually starts at 9:30 a.m. but officials said it may start earlier on Friday.
The distribution at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River on Hooper Avenue usually starts about 11 a.m. but volunteers are at the site as early as 7 a.m.
They are not limited to Toms River or South Toms River residents, and you do not have to show identification or register. Read more: Toms River Food Distribution Uplifts Volunteers, Needy Alike
In addition to the Thanksgiving distribution, there will be a food distribution on Wednesday next week instead of Friday, to provide food to those in need for the week that follows Thanksgiving.
Food insecurity isn't a new problem in Ocean County. Before the pandemic threw millions of Americans into unemployment, 52,900 county residents, or 8.9 percent, were considered food insecure, according to Feeding America, a national organization that assists in feeding those who are hungry and tracks food insecurity in the country. The continuing economic fallout from the health pandemic has swollen that number to 84,000 Ocean County residents, or 13.9 percent, who are in need.
How you can help
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 50 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.