By John Burton
RED BANK – Participants in a forum on hunger and food insecurity in New Jersey conducted yesterday at the Count Basie Theatre said the message is clear: There is more that can and should be done to address this crisis.
The consensus was that it is up to government programs and the private sector to work to ensure that all have enough to eat.
“Our goal here is to tell you there is a place at the table” for everyone, said Mimi Box, executive director of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, one of the organizations that organized the afternoon-long event.
The event featured Gov. Chris Christie, celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Collichio, NBC television personality and MSNBC host Willie Geist, rocker Bon Jovi via video message, and a panel of those working to end hunger.
They offered their assessments of the situation, as local food pantries and government programs address increasing demand for services from residents, and possible ways of not only managing hunger but ending it.
“Hunger in New Jersey and across the U.S. has grown worse since the economic crisis and Super Storm Sandy swept through the region,” said Carlos Rodriguez, executive director of the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
Additional details about the event will be featured in the next edition of The Two River Times.