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Program Gives Access to Free Summer Meals for Low Income Students

For Immediate Release: July 31, 2014
Contact: Lynne Richmond            
(609) 633-2954 

(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service program (SFSP), which helps ensure children who receive free or a reduced price lunch during the school year continue getting healthy meals during the summer, is still running and accepting participants through August.  For a list of program sponsors and feeding sites, visit

Also, to find the closest SFSP site, parents and guardians can call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-HAMBRE. It is a free call, available in both English and Spanish, and is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. In addition, they may also text “Food” to 877-877 to locate SFSP sites. 

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher is encouraging parents with children who qualify to enroll in these programs, which are available through mid- August in a variety of locations throughout New Jersey. Children who are 18 and younger may receive free meals and snacks through SFSP. Meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities, over age 18, who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.

Statewide this year there are more than 1,100 sites serving more than 76,000 children daily.  In the 2013-2014 school year, more than 422,000 New Jersey students received free or reduced price meals in their schools under the National School Lunch Program.  In 2013, only 22 percent of the children in the state participating in the National School Lunch Program had access to nutritious meals in the summer. 

Started in 1976 as an outgrowth of the National School Lunch Program, the Summer Food Service Program is designed to reach those who are age 18 or younger in low-income areas.  It also is open to people over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and who participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled.