For the most up to date list of food pantries, please visit the Human Services Resource Directory.

With the price of fuel and food rising sharply, many Sussex County residents are finding it difficult to feed their families. The situation has become so dire for some families that they are faced with the tough decision to give up their family pet because they cannot afford pet food.

The Food Locker operated by the Sussex County Division of Social Services can help with food for individuals and families, and food for their pets. However, the need for food for Sussex County families and individuals has risen by 250% over the last year, and the shelves are often bare. Items needed are those required to feed a family: shelf stable milk, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, meals in a can, soup, tuna or other proteins in a can. Personal items are always in need. Since the Food Locker is one of the only food pantries to stock pet food, pet food is also needed.

In an interview with Kirstin Cole of CBS Evening News which aired on July 24, 2008, Carol Novrit, Director of the Division of Social Services, explained that the Food Locker in Sussex County is able to stock pet food primarily due to the efforts of Dr. Karen Dashfield, a local veterinarian, and BARKS Inc.

As Novrit pointed out, it is hard enough for people to be struggling financially without facing the additional emotional trauma of sending a beloved family pet to the animal shelter. Animal shelters, too, are feeling the strain as they struggle to handle the increase in surrendered animals.

Anyone interested in donating food items may do so Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Division of Social Services, 83 Spring Street, Newton, NJ. Special arrangements can be made for after hour donations.

If anyone is in need of food for themselves, their family or their pets, they can stop by the Division of Social Services during these hours as well. No appointments are necessary.