New law requires school to serve summer meals

High-poverty schools must participate in the federal Summer Food Service Program, under a new state law.

On May 31, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that requires school districts where at least half of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals to participate in the federal Summer Meal Food Service Program.

This federally-funded program provide a solution to summertime hunger for kids who rely on school meals during the academic year. A growing number of communities across New Jersey are offering free meals to children in the summer at schools, parks, libraries and other places where children congregate.

The law requires these school districts to either become a summer meals sponsor or operate a site under an existing sponsor. This is different from the Academic Summer Lunch Program, which is only offered to children attending summer school. Districts must begin participating no later than Summer 2019.

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USDA extends waivers

he USDA has extended summer meals waiver through Dec. 31. This makes it much easier for schools and other organizations to feed all children for free.

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