Hundreds of Morris County, NJ residents regained access to fresh produce last Friday, thanks to a new partnership with GAF and the Interfaith Food Pantry (IFP).
More than 10,000 Morris County households, primarily consisting of low-income working families and seniors living on fixed incomes, rely on IFP for assistance.
Instances of diet-related health issues such as hypertension and diabetes are much higher among low-income individuals, so IFP offers free farmers markets with fresh produce to promote healthier eating among its clients.
Unfortunately due to the risks posed by COVID-19, IFP had to suspend its farmers market due to a lack of space that could accommodate social distancing.
"Finding a new and creative way to reopen our free farmers market will help fight hunger and improve the health and well-being of thousands of people across Morris County," said Carolyn Lake, Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry.
GAF supports Interfaith Food Pantry's drive-through farmer's market, Friday, June 12, 2020 in Parsippany, N.J. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for GAF)
Upon hearing about the IFP farmers market, North America's largest roofing company sprung into action.
In just a few weeks, over fifty GAF volunteers and the team at IFP helped transform GAF's world headquarters into a community assembly line where volunteers placed groceries and fresh produce directly into the trunks of IFP clients' vehicles.
Volunteers were able to maintain safe social distancing with IFP clients, while distributing more than a dozen different kinds of fresh produce as cars passed by.
Safe social distancing was a key to the success of the Interfaith Food Pantry's drive-through farmer's market at GAF HQ in Parsippany, N.J. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for GAF)
"We're happy we could help put our space to good use and support our neighbors through the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County," said GAF President Jim Schnepper. "Fighting hunger continues to be a challenging issue affecting many homes across the U.S., especially amid the ongoing pandemic. We're glad we could help re-establish this service to provide fresh produce to people in need of healthy food options."
Supporting our Community
Today, the IFP is enrolling more than 200 clients each month, a 300% increase from 50 new clients per month on average.
To help meet this growing need for fresh food in Morris County, the Free IFP Farmers Market will continue every second and fourth Friday at GAF through September.
To learn more about how you can join GAF in support of IFP programs or to volunteer/donate, please:
"Thank you to all of our supporters and to GAF for helping provide a safe environment that helps restore a sense of normalcy for our clients," Lake said.