Creating Communities that Nourish Children

The New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign works in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to expand access to three federal child nutrition programs — school breakfast, summer meals and afterschool snacks and dinners.

This website provides information about these programs, as well as data and other advocacy tools to help local advocates advance efforts to combat childhood hunger by ensuring more children have the opportunity to participate in these critical child nutrition programs.

If you would like more information or need help in forming a local coalition to advocate for expansion of child nutrition programs, please contact Reginald Dorsey, state outreach coordinator, Advocates for Children of New Jersey at rdorsey@acnj.org, or Lisa Pitz, outreach director, New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition at lpitz@cfanj.org.

Background

New Jersey has made great progress in serving school breakfast to more students. Expansion of summer and afterschool meals is also underway. Still, tens of thousands of children in low-income families are missing out on this critical nutrition – and our communities are failing to claim millions of federal dollars that could be coming back to New Jersey to feed hungry children.

National standards recommend that 70 percent of low-income children who receive free or low-cost school lunch also receive breakfast, while 40 percent should receive summer meals and 10 percent should have afterschool meals.

In 2016, 59 percent of New Jersey’s low-income students who ate school lunch also had school breakfast, while about 21 percent received summer meals. We expect to have data soon for participation in the afterschool meals program.