Pallone Highlights Importance of Summer Meals Programs in Edison
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ 06), visited the Kiddie Keep Well Camp in Edison, NJ to highlight the importance of federal food aid, including critical summer meals programs. Lisa Pitz, Program Director of Advocacy, Outreach & Education, NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition also joined Pallone at the camp.
National summer meals programs, provided through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, were created forty years ago to help vulnerable students get nourishment when school is out of session. Under the current program, federally reimbursed meals are available to kids at sites around the country, including schools, faith-based programs and community centers. According to the latest USDA data, 15.8 million children live in households facing a constant struggle against hunger. On an average day during last school year, a record 21.7 million low-income children received free or reduced-price lunches. In New Jersey over 400,000 children qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Congressman Pallone discussed the importance of reauthorizing child nutrition programs under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which expired in September 2015. While summer meal programs continue, he stressed the need to make sure the programs are funded and reach those that are most in need.
“Hunger doesn’t take a vacation. The summer food program ensures that when schools let out for summer break, millions of low-income children do not lose access to the school breakfasts and lunches they rely on,” said Congressman Pallone. “I will continue the fight in Congress for needed funding for child nutrition and school meal programs – we owe it to our country’s most important resource, our children.”
The Kiddie Keep Well Camp is dedicated to providing summertime fun and enjoyment to the less privileged children of Middlesex County. Each summer the camp accepts about six hundred children, ages 7-15, from an applicant pool of 800 to 1000 children for one of four 11-day sessions at no cost to the families. The camp asks school nurses to recommend students to the camp, and also receives referrals from guidance counselors, principals and the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services.