Organizations across New Jersey expect to serve free summer meals to children and teens at 1,300 locations. The meals will be served at parks, schools, pools, libraries, and other places where children gather. (The meals must meet USDA nutritional guidelines, which call for balanced foods that contain low salt and sugar and whole grains; the New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers the program on the state level.)
New Jersey communities fed more than 103,000 children on an average day in July 2018 through two federal summer meals programs, according to the New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign. “This is a great program that helps fill the summer nutrition gap, especially for children and teens who rely on school meals during the academic year,” said Adele LaTourette, director of Hunger Free New Jersey. “Not only do these sites provide nutritious meals, many also give kids a chance to engage in fun, healthy activities…”
To find a site, parents and other caregivers can visit the USDA summer meals sitefinder, text “food” to 9779 or call 1-866-3-HUNGRY. It’s best to check with the site before visiting to be sure they serve meals to any child, regardless of whether a child is registered with a particular program.