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Burlington County offers services at food distribution event

Special to The Sun: Burlington County Commissioner Linda Hynes (center) loads a box of groceries into the trunk of a car during a food distribution event. Burlington County offered residents groceries, COVID vaccines and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) help on Dec. 18.

The Burlington County Commissioners and the Food Bank of South Jersey are partnering to help ensure residents are both protected from COVID and have enough to eat this holiday season and beyond.

The County and Food Bank will hold their next monthly food distribution event on Dec. 18 outside the Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center, 695 Woodlane Road, Westampton. From 10 a.m. to noon, families in need will be able to pick up free boxes of groceries and other food items.

During the event, the Food Bank of South Jersey will also help enroll individuals and families who may be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

More than 12,000 people have received free groceries from the County’s monthly food distribution events since the initiative launched in 2020.

“It’s unacceptable for any child, adult or senior to go hungry or have to choose between adequate nutritious food and other necessities,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “We’ve seen how our County’s monthly food distribution events can make a difference for families that are still struggling, but we’re also committed to helping those who are eligible to access SNAP benefits and that program’s assistance.”

More than 700,000 New Jersey residents currently receive SNAP benefits, or about eight percent of the state’s population. However, many eligible families end up forgoing the assistance because they don’t apply for it.

Burlington County is also making COVID vaccines and boosters available during the distribution event inside the Emergency Services Training Center. No appointments are required, but those seeking a booster shot should bring their vaccination card.

More than 308,000 Burlington County residents are fully vaccinated, amounting to just over 73 percent of the state’s population of people five and older. About 35 percent of the county’s eligible residents have received boosters or a third dose of vaccine.

“We’ve made substantial progress but there are still residents who haven’t gotten vaccinated and many more who are now due for a booster,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, who is the Board’s liaison to the Burlington County Health Department. “This protection is critically important as we enter the holidays and the cold winter months, so we’re trying to make it as a convenient and easy for those residents to get these shots. For those coming to the food distribution, they can collect some food, enroll in SNAP and get their booster in one trip.”

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