Summer Meals

Don't let summer be the hungriest time of the year for New Jersey children.

Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation

Tens of thousands of New Jersey children rely on school meals to get the nutrition they need to be healthy and learn. In the summer, hunger sets in when these meals are not available and families struggle to put food on the table. Federal summer meals programs are warding off summertime hunger for a growing number of children across New Jersey.


The state of Summer meals in New Jersey

Despite this great progress, just 26 percent of low-income children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school received summertime nutrition.  A new state law requires all schools where at least half of students are low-income to participate in the federal Summer Meals Service Program by 2019, unless a district receives a waiver. All affected districts must participate by summer 2020. This will help ensure all kids get the summertime nutrition they need.

Help spread the word about summer meals!

As more communities serve summer meals, we have to be sure parents and other caregivers know where to find food in the summer.

The New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign created an easy-to-use outreach toolkit and other resources to make marketing your summer meals program a snap. 

The Summer Meals Toolkit

Get Started

Here are resources from national partners that make summer meals implementation a snap.

Fact Sheet

A simple one-pager explaining summer meals

Money for Meals

Find grants and other resources that can help you get your summer meals program up and running.

More Resources & Help

Flyers, social media, videos & links to organizations that can help.


Sites can be libraries, schools, parks, pools, playgrounds, housing developments and other places where children congregate in the summer. Sites do not pay for the meals. Sponsors are reimbursed by the federal government for each meal served. The program is administered on the state level by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. 

Summer Meals

Don't let summer be the hungriest time of the year for New Jersey children.