Virtua helping families affected by government shutdown

Employees are donating canned food to help those in need during the partial government shutdown. The South Jersey health system is also offering free produce to federal employees.

Virtua is asking its 9,000 employees to donate canned food to help people urgently in need during the partial federal government shutdown. The South Jersey health system is also offering free produce to federal employees through its Mobile Farmers Market program.

The emergency food drive, which will provide donated items to the Food Bank of South Jersey, will run through Friday, Jan. 25. Needed items include canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned tuna, and canned chicken. Virtua is asking employees to drop off donations at its corporate headquarters in Marlton, among other Virtua locations. Members of the public who wish to support the effort are encouraged to donate to the Food Bank directly.

“Many families are starting to miss paychecks and are now facing difficult choices to make ends meet. A key part of Virtua’s mission is to help people access food and good nutrition, so this food drive is a direct and meaningful way we can support our neighbors,” said Suzanne Ghee, Virtua’s assistant vice president of business development and community health engagement.

Additionally, the Virtua Mobile Farmers Market will provide a free bag of produce per week to any federal government employee (with valid employee ID/badge). The mobile market visits multiple communities each week, with upcoming stops including Westampton, Camden, and Sicklerville.

The partial government shutdown, which started Dec. 21, 2018, affects an estimated 40 million Americans who face food insecurity. According to the Food Bank, more than 200,000 South Jersey residents are food-insecure, with limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Of these vulnerable citizens, 57,000 are children who need healthy food to thrive physically, mentally, socially, and academically.