According to the USDA, over 13.5 million Americans struggled with food insecurity in 2021 alone. For families suffering with food insecurity, they may be uncertain of where there next meal will come from. Many families may also be unable to acquire enough food for their families due to insufficient funds or other barriers. Per the Community Food Bank of NJ, over 650,000 people in New Jersey alone are suffering with food insecurity. Thankfully, resources like the Mercer County Free Food Finder are available to connect families with the vital resources that they need to lead a healthy, happy life.

The Mercer County Free Food Finder, sponsored by the Trenton Health Team, is a wonderful resource to find food banks and other free food giveaways in the region. The hope is that by making these resources more readily accessible, the database can help to forge further health equity in the region. Resources like these are especially vital for our community’s children and seniors. The directory is regularly updated with up-to-date hours of operation, new resources, etc. This project was possible in part by an Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant from the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services. Some of the represented resources include wonderful organizations like Catholic Charities, Arm in Arm, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, and more.

The database features a variety of features, including a searchable directory of food distribution sites and an interactive map display. Through the finder, you can determine the hours of day the sites are open, identify special events and one-time opportunities, and verify your eligibility for programs. The website also supports Google translate, allowing anyone with a language barrier to access the program as well. Although the information in the database is updated regularly, resources, times, etc. are subject to change. It is always recommended that you contact the sites directly before attending one of the sites. If you have any questions regarding the finder, please contact Matthew Broad at at or (609) 337-4040.

Food security is particularly critical for a community like Trenton. Earlier this year, the NJEDA designated Trenton as one of its 50 designated food desert communities. A food desert is a region which has limited access to affordable and healthy food. At the moment, Trenton only has three grocery stores within the city. Per a CDC survey, only 2.4% of Trenton’s food vendors sold healthy food. If food insecurity goes unaddressed, impacted populations may experience long-term negative health outcomes. Food-insecure individuals may experience conditions such as cognitive issues, anemia, and poorer general health. Swift intervention for food-insecure individuals is a critical first step in guaranteeing a healthier future.

The finder would not be possible without the support of the Trenton Health Team, a local health collaborative who has been serving the Trenton community for over a decade. The organization serves a broad array of health needs, including healthy housing, improved safety, quality healthcare, and equity and inclusion. Multi-sector partnerships allow the THT to address a wide variety of healthcare concerns, helping to improve the overall quality of life for residents all throughout the community.

If you or a loved one could benefit from this resource, you are encouraged to make use of this wonderful database. Please contact the Trenton Health Team for additional details regarding the program. No man, woman, or child should ever have to go hungry, and now the Mercer County Free Food Finder is taking pivotal steps in making that goal a reality.

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