Summer doesn’t necessarily mean fun in the sun for kids, at least not for poor kids who depend on school meals for most of their nutrition. When school’s out they often end up going hungry. The answer: New Jersey’s summer meals program, which fed nearly 84,000 kids on an average day in July 2016, according to a new report from Advocates for Children in New Jersey.
That’s a good start, but it’s really only a beginning, accounting for nearly 21 percent of the 403,000 children who received free or low-cost school lunch during the academic year. The National Food Research Action Center says communities need to reach 40 percent of low-income kids who eat lunch at school.
Since communities are reimbursed according to number of meals served, New Jersey could collect an estimated $5.7 million dollars annually to feed hungry children during the summer months (according to a preliminary estimate).