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Thanks, in large part, to the efforts of New Jersey Mayors and municipal governing bodies; our State has been selected, as one of three, to participate in a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program.

Each day, thousands of New Jersey residents struggle to put healthy food on the table for their families. As of July 2016, there were 858,572 persons in New Jersey receiving SNAP benefits, which is approximately 10 percent of our state’s population.  A significant number of our constituents are dependent on these benefits to provide nutritious and affordable food for their children and families. According to the USDA, 524,000 individuals, or 6 percent of New Jersey’s population, live in food deserts with little access to healthy food options.

We thank those of you who visited the Mayors’ Information Booth at the League Conference in November, where you had the opportunity to sign on to our letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. In that letter, we urged Secretary Vilsack to include the Garden State in the upcoming two-year pilot that will enable (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online. We also thank those of you who responded to our follow-up request on this matter. (Please see our fact sheet on the SNAP pilot program, for further details.)

We thank Senator Cory Booker for involving the League in this effort to include New Jersey in the pilot. We believe that this will bolster the initiative being spearheaded by League President and Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, to ensure better nutrition for children and families living in need of assistance all around our Garden State.

Contact:  Jon Moran, Sr. Legislative Analyst, jmoran@jslom.org, 609-695-3481 x121.