The Community Food Bank of New Jersey
Our mission is to fight hunger and poverty in New Jersey by assisting those in need and seeking long term solutions. We will engage, educate, and empower all sectors of society in the battle.
From Humble Beginnings
What was to become the Community FoodBank of New Jersey began when founder, President and CEO, Kathleen DiChiara (pictured), began distributing groceries out of the trunk of her car in 1975. The FoodBank was soon established the same year as part of the Archdiocese of Newark.
That first year, operating from the fourth floor of the Mount Carmel Guild building in Newark, without a loading dock, the Community FoodBank distributed 75,000 pounds of groceries. In 1982, the FoodBank was incorporated and moved up to an unheated former meat-packing plant in Newark’s Ironbound district. During this period, Kathleen was appointed by then-Governor Thomas Kean to the New Jersey Commission on Hunger, which was influential in developing legislation and policies aimed at reducing hunger in the state, including improving programs for home-delivered meals to senior citizens and participation in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) feeding program.
The FoodBank’s distribution of food to charities throughout the state grew, and in 1987 moved its location to a larger warehouse, a 43,000-foot warehouse with enough freezer and refrigerator space to accommodate more frozen foods, meats, milk, and fresh fruits and vegetables. In 1993 continued support and program growth led the FoodBank to its current 280,000 square-foot facility in Hillside, New Jersey.
Today, the FoodBank distributes 39 million pounds of food and groceries a year, ultimately serving 1,500 non-profit programs including 436 programs served by its Partner Distribution Organizations (PDOs). Through their combined efforts, they help to feed 900,000 low-income people in 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
A designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Community Foodbank of New Jersey is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, as well as a member of the New Jersey Federation of food banks which includes ourSouthern Branch, the Food Bank of South Jersey, and our three Partner Distribution Organizations (PDOs): FoodBank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank and NORWESCAP Food Bank.