The State of Summer Meals in NJ

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Update: The State of Summer Meals in New Jersey

The COVID pandemic has amplified the need to feed children healthy food in the summer when schools are closed and youth lack access to school meals. Released June 17, 2020, this year’s report highlights examples of innovative partnerships that can deliver meals to more children, while measuring progress on summer meal expansion. Many districts forged innovative ways to feed kids during the emergency school closings. Read the report and view local data.


This summer, with limitations likely to be in force for camps and other programs, many school districts are planning to provide food as they did during the emergency school closings.  This includes distributing food at schools and other community sites and delivering meals directly to families using buses or other mobile delivery methods.  


Under a law passed in 2018, all districts with at least half of students eligible for free or low-cost school meals to participate in the Summer Food Service Program starting in 2020. Districts can view tips, strategies and resources for serving summer meals in the

Summer Meals for School Success Guide


While the USDA has extended waivers of several rules, districts, community organizations and local governments have expressed confusion over how these rule exemptions apply this summer. According to the USDA, summer meal sites do not have to require identification from parents this summer. Instead, USDA advises open summer meals sites to ask parents how many children 18 and under are in the household, post signs stating that meals are only for youth and indicate in promotional materials who is eligible to pick-up and receive meals. The New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign has tools and resources for schools and community organizations.  Your parents and families can find open meal sites at 


If you have any questions or would like more information about the Summer Food Service Program in your district, please reach out to your NJPSA Government Relations team at any time: