Burlington County kicks off new food and outreach program

LIFT UP brings resources and information directly to residents

Burlington County continues to bring services and resources directly to residents where they live and work with a new program that distributes free bag lunches to food insecure families plus information about housing relief and other assistance programs.

Burlington County LIFT UP – Lunches & Information For Tenants and Underserved Populations – kicked off on Aug. 4 at the Dominique Johnson Recreation Center in Pemberton Township. During the event, Burlington County staff connected with more than 150 residents, assisting them with a wide range of issues and provided information about available assistance, including SNAP benefits, mortgage and rental aid, utility and home repair assistance and the county’s first-time homebuyer program.

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Bagged lunches with sandwiches, fruit and bottles of water were also distributed by the county and New Jersey State Police Community Policing Unit.

Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel was also present for the kickoff event and said more food and outreach programs are being planned for other county towns.

“We know there are residents in distress who don’t know what assistance is available or where to go to seek help,” said Eckel. “We created the LIFT UP program to bring county services to residents, so they don’t need to search for them. We want to ease the burdens faced by working families and our most vulnerable residents and this program can help us do that.”

The LIFT UP program was created by the Burlington County Department of Human Services as an extension of the services offered by the County Housing Hub.

Located on the first floor of the Human Services Building in Westampton, the Housing Hub provides a single location for residents to seek help for housing hardships, including homelessness. Since opening in December 2019, the Housing Hub has assisted more than 5,000 Burlington County residents to obtain emergency shelter, rental assistance and other housing-related assistance, including security deposits, utility fees, application fees and credit reviews.

Since 2020, the county has also partnered with the Food Bank of South Jersey to hold drive-thru food distribution events where residents in need can receive free groceries, produce and prepared meals. More than 16,000 food-insecure residents in the county have benefited from the program and the county continues to hold the distribution events regularly.

LIFT UP builds on those successes by bringing resources and information directly to residents, said Eckel.

“We’ve made progress, but we know food and housing insecurity persists and many families struggle to meet their basic needs,” Eckel said. “LIFT UP is another way we can try to make a difference one community at a time.”

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