An anonymous fresh produce donation left at Colonial Manor Methodist Church is a blessing for the volunteer food pantry operating out of the church basement. …Their source is a mystery pantry founder Alice McKewen doesn’t mind leaving unsolved. It’s never been easy for federal food stamp recipients to stretch their allowance….In Gloucester County, 11,500 households receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, a 4.7 percent increase since January 2013, according to Ed Smith, the county’s Division of Social Services superintendent. More than 31,700 Camden County households benefit from SNAP. On average, a family of four in Camden County receives $632 a month, according to its Division of Social Services. That’s just under $160 for groceries every week."People don’t necessarily know how to shop smart, or how to get through until the end of the month on their SNAP dollars, " said Luann Hughes, an educator at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. "Budgeting and food planning help you stretch your dollars." Hughes’ programs target low-income families who may use food stamps. Her first lesson teaches SNAP students how to fill their pantries. Pick up pasta, canned vegetables, beans and soups from food pantries, and save food stamps for produce and meats, she advised.
/ / / S.J. food stamp recipients learn to budget and plan