The department saw over 150 families in April and May, with an average of three new families per month. Once the summer hit, the flood of families in need continued, with 88 in July and 78 in August.
From January through August this year, Social Services saw 553 families. Last year at this time, the total number of families who came in for aid from Social Services was 455.
"You hear the same thing from people for awhile now. Unemployment is running out or its been cut and they can't make ends meet," said Social Services Director LouAnne Wolf. "We're seeing way more people than we're used to seeing. Our food intake has always been lower in the summer, but almost all of our (food shelves) are empty. We have no vegetables, a couple cans of fruit and minimal cereal. It's very disconcerting."
As an example of the increased numbers of families in need of aid, the department has given out over 100 backpacks to elementary and middle school students during a back to school drive. St. Cecilia's Church alone donated over 60 backpacks, with more children in need coming this week to receive a free backpack.
But with the food pantry at an all time low and holiday food drives still months away, Wolf is pleading for residents to donate whatever they can to help bridge the gap.
"I don't want to go too crazy with the holidays starting soon, but we don't know how we're going to get through September and October," she added.
The pantry is in desperate need of the following items:
- Mac and cheese
- Pasta and spaghetti
- Chef Boyardee canned pastas
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned beans
- Canned vegetables
- Canned corn
- Boxed or canned potatoes
- Personal products such as shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, deodorants, lotions, and soaps
Anyone interested in contributing to the Social Services holiday Adopt-a-Family program, organizing a food drive, donating food or money, or volunteering for the South Brunswick Food Pantry should call 732-329-4000 ext. 7674.