COMMUNITY FOODBANK OF NEW JERSEY, MERCER STREET FRIENDS, AND NORWESCAP ANNOUNCE $2 MILLION INVESTMENT IN NETWORK CAPACITY
Grants will enable food pantries and soup kitchens to serve more people in need during a COVID-19
winter and beyond
HILLSIDE, NJ—February 10, 2021
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), Mercer Street Friends, and Norwescap today announced a $2 million commitment to fund food pantries and soup kitchens within their collective
15-county service area. Grants will be awarded to help community organizations sustain
their operations through a difficult winter and expand their capabilities to respond to
the dramatic surge in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Round One of this Network
Investment Initiative has been launched in collaboration with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund’s
Endurance Grants program. The remaining funds will be given out via the food banks’ own request for
proposals process. Distribution of grant funds to selected organizations will be facilitated by the
Community Foundation of New Jersey.
“Our partner organizations are absolutely vital to CFBNJ’s mission delivery. Without their tireless
efforts as the boots on the ground in the fight against hunger, we could not operate efficiently or
effectively,” said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “This
financial commitment to network capacity is just the beginning of our multi-year plan to meet their
most urgent needs of the moment and to ensure our shared future.”
For Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset,
and Union counties, funds will be awarded by CFBNJ. For Mercer County, grants will be
administered by Mercer Street Friends, and in Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren Counties, grants
will be administered by Norwescap.
“As the Food Bank for Mercer County, Mercer Street Friends is proud of our many
partner organizations that have stepped up their efforts to battle food insecurity during this
pandemic,” said Mercer Street Friends CEO Bernie Flynn. “We are pleased to participate in
this program to help small and medium sized pantries continue their critically important
“Norwescap is excited for this opportunity to help build the capacity of our nonprofit partners to
reach more people and provide much needed support at this critical time,” said Mark Valli, CEO of NORWESCAP.
The initiative begins as New Jersey has seen an estimated 56% increase in food insecurity due to
the pandemic, a spike larger than the increases nationally and in neighboring states. At the same
time, food banks’ partner organizations are struggling to serve their communities at a time
when they are most needed, whether they need equipment to make outdoor food distribution
possible in winter, additional refrigeration to store perishable food, or an infusion of funds to
address rising demand. The current food insecurity crisis is expected to outlast the pandemic, and
about 82% of New Jersey food pantries surveyed by the David Tepper Charitable Foundation
anticipate a rise in demand for emergency food over the next three months.
CFBNJ, Mercer Street Friends, and Norwescap invite proposals from their existing network partners
for grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. While the initiative will prioritize
small-to-medium-sized food pantries and soup kitchens (operating budget less than $500,000),
applications are welcome from any network partner in need of support. Eligible expenses include
household and hygiene items for clients, winterization expenses, capacity expenses, and
emergency operating needs.
CFBNJ, Mercer Street Friends, and Norwescap partner organizations interested in applying
for one of these grants should visit cfbnj.org/networkinvestment for more information.
Proposals are due by February 19, and organizations will be notified of their awards
by March 5. Virtual technical support webinars will be offered on February 12 and 16 for
organizations requiring assistance with their applications. A recording of these webinars will be
posted on cfbnj.org/networkinvestment.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOODBANK OF NEW JERSEY
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a member of Feeding America®, has been
delivering food, help and hope across the state for 45 years. Last year, CFBNJ provided
nutritious food for over 66 million meals through its network of more than 1,000 community
partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and
senior feeding programs throughout the 15 New Jersey counties it serves. For our hungry neighbors,
the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is the powerful agent of change that fills the
emptiness caused by hunger and provides resources that are essential to earning a sustainable
ABOUT MERCER STREET FRIENDS
As a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, Mercer Street Friends is dedicated to
nourishing minds and bodies, empowering families and communities by providing comprehensive
programs to address poverty and the physical and emotional trauma it creates for children,
families and the community. Our programs focus on: food, families and education.
As the primary source of government and privately donated food, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank
leads the community response to hunger in Mercer County. In 2020, the Food Bank
channeled more than 5.5 million pounds of food to a network of more than 100 food
pantries, shelters, school districts, soup kitchens, meal sites, senior centers, programs for the
disabled and low-income housing sites. Throughout the year, Mercer Street Friends served over
100,000 individuals, providing 50,000 weekend Community Food Bags, totaling 800,000 weekend meals to families throughout the County.
Norwescap provides vital and life-sustaining services to over 30,000 individuals and families in
need in Northwest New Jersey. Our programs include strategies that address the critical areas of
education, health and wellness, employment, housing, volunteerism and financial empowerment. Since
our inception, we have been dedicated to achieving the mission of creating opportunities to
transform lives through innovative programs and partnerships. For more information, please