Burlington County will be offering free home COVID-19 test kits with groceries during this weekend’s food distribution event.
The food distribution event will be held Saturday, April 23, in the parking lot behind BCIT, 695 Woodlane Road, Westampton from 10 AM to noon. Families in need will be able to pick up free boxes of groceries and information about assistance programs. During the event, county staff will distribute free home COVID test kits on a first-come-first served basis while supplies last.
The test kits were donated to the Burlington County Health Department by Amazon Fulfilment Centers and will also be distributed at the Burlington County Bring Health Home Fair on Friday.
“We’ve made incredible progress in our battle against COVID-19 and food insecurity, but we know the virus is still present and circulating and that some families are still struggling to afford food,” said Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson, the Board’s liaison to the Health Department and Department of Human Services. “We continue to provide food assistance monthly to those in need, and we’re also offering them free test kits as an additional layer of protection for vulnerable residents who might otherwise have difficulty accessing testing.”
Dr. Herb Conaway, director of the Burlington County Health Department, said the home test kits would also be distributed to homebound residents and to organizations that shelter and assist the homeless.
“We’ve started to see a rise in local COVID cases, so we’re distributing these home test kits to individuals and families who want them in hope that it can help protect them and guard against further spread,” Conaway said. “The kits can be used if someone develops symptoms, has a close exposure to someone with COVID or who plans to spend time indoors with someone who might be at high risk if they were to catch the coronavirus. We want all our residents to have all possible protection, including those families who are struggling financially.”
Burlington County has been distributing groceries and other food items to families in need since the pandemic started. To date, more than 14,000 Burlington County residents have been aided by the program.
State Senator Troy Singleton, who has volunteered at several of the monthly food events, commended the County’s ongoing efforts to deliver resources to families in need.
“From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Burlington County has delivered resources and aid that local families desperately needed, including testing, vaccines and food assistance,” Singleton said. “Even now as we move forward and learn to live with the virus, we know some families continue to face financial hardships, so it’s gratifying to see the County continue to be responsive and provide help for those who are most vulnerable.”
During Saturday’s event, the Food Bank of South Jersey and social services volunteers will also help enroll individuals and families who may be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
More than 700,000 New Jersey residents currently receive SNAP benefits, or about 8% of the state’s population. However, many eligible families end up forgoing the assistance because they don’t apply for it.
“It’s unacceptable for any child, adult or senior to go hungry or have to choose between adequate nutritious food and other necessities,” said Hopson. “We’ve seen how our County’s monthly food distribution events can make a difference for families that are still struggling, but we’re also committed to helping those who are eligible to access SNAP benefits and that program’s assistance.”
Burlington County Commissioners Dan O’Connell and Felicia Hopson were among the volunteers at the County’s March food distribution event.