NJ Summer Meals Snapshot, 2020
Summer meals fill nutrition gap
Summer Meals Soar in 2020
During the summer of COVID, New Jersey communities served free meals to more children than ever before, providing much-needed nutritional support when many families faced job loss because of the pandemic. This was due to a heightened awareness of need, relaxation of rules for federal summer meal programs and a new state law requiring high-poverty districts to serve free summer meals. Many NJ children face hunger every summer. We must build on this success to ensure all children in need receive healthy food every single day. This report provides a statewide snapshot of summer meal service to children in 2020 during the pandemic and shows how communities can reach more children every summer with this important nutrition.
Boosting School Meals Enrollment
With many New Jersey schools serving free meals to all children, districts across New Jersey are reporting a low return rate of school meal applications. Families should complete these applications to ensure eligible children receive special federal nutrition assistance, known as Pandemic EBT, during COVID and for districts to claim state and federal funding for education programs.
Congress recently extended Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) through Sept. 30, 2021 to children in kindergarten through 12th grade who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals and whose schools are operating on remote learning at least five days a week. Students must be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program to be eligible.
School districts that engage in effective and ongoing outreach have the potential to reach more students. Below is a link to our best practices guide and a sample message to parents.