(TRENTON, NJ) ― New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service Administrator Audrey Rowe on April 7 for a roundtable discussion on ways to improve access to nutritious summer meals for children in Camden.
Last summer, the City of Camden Department of Human Services and Urban Promise Ministries, Inc. provided the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at 126 sites in Camden. Rowe sought feedback from local officials on the issues and challenges facing Camden to providing more access to the program for local children. The program feeds students who receive free school meals with breakfast and lunch during the summer months. SFSP is administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and is federally funded.
“I am traveling the country meeting with mayors and other local leaders to promote summer meals and it is critical in cities like Camden that we reach as many young children as possible who might otherwise go without nutritious meals this summer,” said Rowe. “We appreciate Camden and the state of New Jersey’s efforts on their work to increase the number of sponsors and feeding sites available.”
“We thank Administrator Rowe for her interest in this important program that benefits thousands of New Jersey school children each summer,” said Secretary Fisher. “We encourage agencies to become sponsors and parents and guardians to take advantage of these worthwhile programs that are available for children.”
Attending the roundtable discussion were representatives from the office of Camden Mayor Dana Redd and the Food Bank of South Jersey, as well as other state and local officials.
Ninety-six organizations in 2013 participated in the Summer Food Service Program to provide nutritious meals to almost 58,000 children daily during the summer at 1,036 sites around the state.
The Summer Food Service Program reimburses participating organizations for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program.