(TRENTON) – Following a joint meeting of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and the Assembly Education Committee to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 on the food supply chain, food insecurity and agriculture community, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), chair of the Agriculture Committee, released the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity, disrupted the food supply chain and created unprecedented challenges for farmers and food stores. With unemployment reaching record highs, the need for food pantries and food assistance programs has never been greater. Families that were already struggling to put food on the table before the pandemic have been hit hard, particularly those with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals.
“We also cannot forget the farmers at the heart of the food supply chain, who are grappling with unparalleled demand as more consumers opt to buy in bulk. They are trying to meet this demand while managing staffing shortages and new safety and social distancing protocols for workers. These challenges are enormous and wholly unexpected.
“We will likely continue to feel the aftershocks of COVID-19 for months and years to come. Our response going forward must include timely and comprehensive action to combat hunger and support the agriculture community. With such widespread need, we’ll need to do all we can to improve food access for all New Jersey families.”