Summer meals sites, sponsors sought for 2018
The number of children receiving summertime nutrition continued to grow last year, and federal dollars flowing into New Jersey communities to feed hungry children rose, according to an ACNJ report released today.
New Jersey communities served up summer meals to nearly 95,000 children on an average day in July 2017, according to data provided by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture -- a 27 percent increase since July 2015, according to the report.
Federal reimbursements rose to $11 million – a 49 percent jump since 2015, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Help fuel the growth! Consider becoming a sponsor or site. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is currently recruiting sponsors and sites to participate in the Summer Food Service Program this summer.
To learn more, contact the New Jersey New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-292-4498, SFSPCommunication@ag.state.nj.us.
Summer Meals Outreach
Promoting the availability of summer meals in communities across New Jersey is essential to ensuring this nutrition assistance benefits the maximum number of children. ACNJ has created flyers and an easy-to-use outreach toolkit, with simple strategies, prepared messages and other resources to engage the community in spreading the work about summer meals.
View the toolkit.
Bills addressing childhood hunger advance in state Legislature
Last week, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, along with legislative sponsors, held a news conference to highlight measures that would expand access to school breakfast and summer meals programs. Cecilia Zalkind, ACNJ president and CEO and Adele LaTourette, director of the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition (co-chairs of the NJ Food for Thought Campaign) participated in the event. Check out this short video of the news conference.
Here is a summary of the measures.
S-1894/A-3506 would require high-poverty schools to serve breakfast after the bell. The bill could benefit as many as 150,000 more students, according to an ACNJ analysis of state data.
S-1895/A-3503 would require every school district where at least one school qualifies for the Community Eligibility Provision, but is not implementing it, to report the reasons for not participating to the Departments of Agriculture and Education. This federal provision allows schools to feed all students for free and reduce paperwork associated with school breakfast and lunch.
S-1896/A-3502 would require school districts to submit quarterly reports detailing how many students are denied school meals because of unpaid meal fees. This will help to combat "lunch shaming" in New Jersey schools.
S-1897/A-3504 would require school districts with at least 50 percent low-income children to participate in the federal Summer Food Service Program, if no other organization is acting as a summer meals sponsor within the school district.
All four bills have cleared the full Senate and await action in the Assembly.