The mission of the Center for Food Action is to “prevent hunger and homelessness and improve the lives of individuals and families living in poverty.”
To this end, CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, advocacy, and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey.
You make it possible!
Founded in 1976, the Center for Food Action in New Jersey (CFA) has as its mission, “preventing hunger and homelessness and improving the lives of individuals and families living in poverty.” To this end, CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey.
Started by the late singer Harry Chapin and Bill Ayers as World Hunger Year New Jersey, the agency originally focused on the global causes of world hunger but within months of its start, it became evident that some people in our own community needed help in order to put food on their tables. Volunteers immediately began responding to this need. Soon the name was changed to Center for Food Action in New Jersey and the emphasis became providing direct services to local residents.
CFA first opened its doors in Fair Lawn and soon relocated to Englewood, which now serves as CFA’s headquarters. In the first year, CFA served 507 people. Ten years later, 5,107 people received emergency food packages. Ten years after that, the number of people getting food grew to 23,230. Over the years, CFA opened three more sites in Bergen County and one in Passaic County and the number of people receiving emergency food packages continued to climb. In 2009 CFA distributed nearly 50,000 emergency food packages and 3400 Thanksgiving packages.
CFA initiated homelessness prevention and utility assistance programs during the 1980’s. The first year, CFA kept 96 families from being evicted and/or having their heat and lights disconnected. These programs continue to serve area residents today.
In 1980, CFA established the Statewide Emergency Food and Anti-Hunger Network (SEFAN), and began working to end hunger in New Jersey. Now called the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition (NJAHC), it was created to provide training and technical assistance to pantries and soup kitchens across the state, to serve as a voice for hungry people and for the front line providers of emergency food. The number of pantries and soup kitchens in the network has grown from 30 organizations to more than 900 organizations.
NJAHC serves as a clearinghouse for information on hunger and poverty in our state and carries out anti-hunger advocacy on behalf of those in our state who are living in poverty. It is used as a resource for those who operate emergency food centers. NJAHC provides a unique dimension to the CFA's work and benefits low-income people across our state while aiding those who serve on the front line of alleviating hunger in New Jersey.