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Summer Feeding Program - Click to enlarge

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017 www.nj.gov/agriculture
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330

Contact: Jeff Wolfe P: (609) 633-2954
C: (609) 433-1785
E: jeff.wolfe@ag.state.nj.us

Programs Underway Around NJ To Provide Free Summer Meals for Low Income Students

(FREEHOLD) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service representatives today helped serve lunch to about 40 students participating in the Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program at the Freehold Boro YMCA Community Center in Freehold, one of the Fulfill (formerly the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties) feeding sites.

Started in 1976 as an outgrowth of the National School Lunch Program, the Summer Food Service Program is designed to ensure those who are age 18 or younger in low-income areas have access to meals while school is out. It also is open to people over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and who participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled.

“Students who receive free or reduced price lunch during the school year have many options for receiving healthy meals during the summer through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Secretary Fisher. “Some programs provide both breakfast and lunch and ensure there is no gap in getting nutritious meals on summer break. We applaud the commitment of the YMCA and groups like Fulfill that provide access to this important program for its young residents.”

The federally funded program reimburses participating organizations for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. Statewide this year there are 116 sponsors for the more than 1,400 sites serving nearly 60,000 children daily. In the 2015-2016 school year, nearly 430,000 New Jersey students received free or reduced price meals in their schools under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In 2016, 19.5 percent participating in the NSLP had access to meals in the summer.

Last year, the 111 sponsors served more than 3 million meals at the 1,350 feeding sites. Most participating organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals a day – lunch and either breakfast or a snack. New Jersey ranked 12th in the nation in 2016 in the percentage of eligible children who received a free lunch, according to the Food Action and Research Center.

Fulfill has participated in the Summer Food Service Program since 2012 with 25 feeding sites this year. The program is operated throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties like the one at the YMCA of Western Monmouth County. During today’s visit, the children were served chicken breast with American cheese on whole wheat bread, a fresh plum, carrots sticks with low fat dip and one percent milk.

“We have developed a strong foundation with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and with our surrounding communities so that if an organization in our area is in need of meals throughout the summer, all they have to do is call us,” said Fulfill Executive Director Carlos Rodriguez. “They can trust us to be there for them.”

To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program or how to become a sponsor, visit http://bit.ly/V233JR. To find a feeding site near you, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or text Food to 877-877.

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