The Assembly Women & Children Committee sought to highlight the Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program – more commonly known as the Summer Meals Program in order to raise awareness for families that nutrition is still available for low income children during the summer months. earlier this week The Committee not only heard from child advocates like Advocates for Children of New Jersey, but also from Department of Agriculture Commissioner Doug Fischer and his personnel.
Among the bill’s moved at the June 5 Committee Hearing were the following bills:
- A-4906 (Lampitt) – Requires public and nonpublic schools to notify students and parents of availability of summer meals programs and locations where meals are served. (pending intro and referral)
- This bill requires each school district and nonpublic school in the State to notify each student enrolled in the school district or nonpublic school and the student’s parent or guardian of the availability of, and criteria of eligibility for, the summer meals program and the locations in the local school district where the summer meals are available. Notification would be made by distributing flyers provided by the Department of Agriculture, which the bill directs the department to develop and distribute to each school district and nonpublic school in the State. Additionally, the school districts and schools are permitted to provide electronic notice of the information through the usual means by which the school district or school communicates with parents and students electronically.
- A-4908 (Lampitt) – Directs DOE to establish online applications for National School Lunch Program and school breakfast programs.
- The bill would require the Department of Education to develop and make available to each school district and nonprofit nonpublic school participating in the National School Lunch Program or in a school breakfast program, an Internet-based online school meal application for eligible students to participate in these programs. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program or in a school breakfast program would be encouraged to make the online school meal application available. A participating school district or nonprofit nonpublic school that implements the online school meal application would also be required to continue to make available paper applications.
- AJR-154 (Lampitt / Barclay) – Designates fourth week in April of each year as “Every Kid Healthy Week.”
- This joint resolution designates the fourth week in April of each year as “Every Kid Healthy Week” in New Jersey in order to promote healthy lifestyles choices for New Jersey’s children and draw attention to the risks of childhood obesity. Under the joint resolution, schools are encouraged to partner with parents and health clubs to help encourage kids to eat healthy and stay active.
- AR-254 (Lampitt) – Urges President and Congress to expand access to afterschool summer meal programs and streamline application process for summer meals.
- This resolution urges the President and Congress to expand access to afterschool summer meal programs and streamline application process for summer meals.
- AR-255 (Lampitt) – Urges USDA to lower eligibility threshold for federal nutrition programs.
- The resolution urges the United States Department of Agriculture to increase the funding for, and availability of, school nutrition programs to children throughout the State by lowering the eligibility threshold for federal nutrition programs from 50 percent to 40 percent of children in an area being eligible to receive free or reduced price school meals.
NJPSA is in support of the legislative package as a member of the Food for Thought Campaign. Led by Advocates for Children of New Jersey and the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, the New Jersey Food For Thought campaign is driven by a statewide coalition commited to combating childhood hunger. This effective partnership of state agencies, health, wellness and education organizations, municipal government, child advocates and others has resulted in a significant increase in the number of New Jersey children receiving school breakfast. The coalition is now working to combat childhood by ensuring more kids have summer and afterschool meals. For more information on summer meals visit njsummermeals.org