( Courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture )

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is partnering with four food banks to help prevent food waste. 

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the Food Bank of South Jersey, Mercer Street Friends and Norwescap will be partners, state agriculture secretary Douglas Fisher said in a news release.

The campaign was introduced on the department’s Facebook page and at www.MoreMealsLessWaste.com to inform residents and businesses about what can be done to help prevent food waste. 

Billboards, social media ads and radio spots will provide suggestions for food waste reduction and direct people to the new website for more information.

September is Hunger Action Month, which includes New Jersey Food Waste Prevention Day on Sept. 17 and the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on Sept. 29.

“This helps empower us to make more positive impacts economically and environmentally,” Fisher said in the release.

The often-used statistic that 40% of all food is wasted means an average of $2,200 per household in the U.S. each year, according to the release. 

The More Meals Less Waste website includes ways to support food banks, including how to give food, money or time. 

It also offers suggestions for consumers to save money and prevent food waste with tips on storing dry food, methods to raise or give money and ways to volunteer.

In response to the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey distributed more than 30 million meals from March through July, many to people in need for the first time, according to the release. 

The food bank has seen an unprecedented increase in requests for help, president and CEO Carlos Rodriguez said in the release. 

“We want people and businesses to know that whatever they can give, whether it’s food, funds, or time, is essential to our mission to combat food waste and hunger in New Jersey,” he said.

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