NJ Ranks No. 1 Nationwide in Summer Food Service Program Meals

PERTH AMBOY, NJ — New Jersey is tops nationwide when it comes to providing summer lunch to children from households who participated in school year lunch, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

The success was highlighted in a visit Wednesday to the Raritan Bay Area YMCA Summer Stars Day Camp lunch at Rose M. Lopez Elementary School in Perth Amboy.

“Summer Food Service provides an opportunity for children and those who are eligible to receive healthy meals throughout the summer,” New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III said in a news release. “The top ranking is a credit to the work by our Division of Food and Nutrition and the many partners that engage in this program. The commitment of the City of Perth Amboy, the YMCA, the USDA, and the Perth Amboy Public Schools to administer these summer meals, is a great example of the success that can take place when there is a collaborative effort.”

This year’s Summer Food Service Program includes 1,250 feeding sites and 170 sponsors statewide. More than 11 million summer meals were served last year to New Jersey children who qualified.

Perth Amboy’s Summer Food Service program served more than 60,000 combined breakfasts and lunches in July. Roughly 4,000 children participate.

“When the school year ends, the nutrition needs for children continue,” Perth Amboy Director of Human Services Dianne Roman said in a news release. “We work to ensure that healthy meal options are available during the summer to all who are eligible. We know that hunger does not take a summer break.”

The Summer Food Service Program is an outgrowth of the National School Lunch Program, which started in 1976. It’s for students who are 18 or younger in low-income areas to have access to meals while school is out.

Click here to learn more about the Summer Food Service Program.