Summer Meals

Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Vacation

Tens of thousands of New Jersey children rely on school meals to get the nutrition they need to be healthy and learn. In the summer, hunger sets in when these meals are not available and families struggle to put food on the table. Federal summer meals programs are warding off summertime hunger for a growing number of children across the state. New Jersey law requires school districts with at least half of children eligible for free or low-cost school meals to participate in a federal summer meal programs. The state, starting in 2022, will provide a 10 cent per meal supplement to federal reimbursements for summer meals.


How do Summer meals work?

Schools, local government and community organizations sign on to be a summer meals sponsor and provide food to sites in a community or communities. Sites can be libraries, schools, parks, pools, playgrounds, housing developments and other places where children congregate in the summer. Sites do not pay for the meals. Sponsors are reimbursed by the federal government for each meal served. The program is administered on the state level by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Success with Summer Meals

Here’s a look at a handful of the many New Jersey communities tapping into federal dollars to feed kids summer meals.

East Orange

When school lets out, the City of East Orange kicks into high gear to feed kids all summer long.

Compass Academy

Connecting with the community helps Compass Academy Charter School serve up summer meals.


At the Lakewood School District, feeding kids is a year-round business.


Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly turned a $10,000 grant into a bright, inviting mobile meals bus.


Jamesburg jumps on board with summer meals.