New Jersey seeks to expand free school lunch program

Trenton – New Jersey lawmakers are one step closer to expanding the availability of free school lunches across the Garden State.

The Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz to increase enrollment in the free school meals program.

“The State of New Jersey has tremendous resources and programs that are available to our families. This bill aims to elevate our school meal program and reach and connect as many children as we can,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “When it comes to food insecurity New Jersey is not immune to its throws. As we continue to take steps to improve our school nutrition program, this legislation will add to those efforts.”

During the school year, parents will be required to receive hard copies of information about school meal programs and an application along with the school meal program information. As part of the information provided, parents would be informed that applications for the free school lunch and breakfast programs may be submitted at any time during the year and must be submitted annually.

A parent would be required to either return the completed application or sign a card provided by the district stating that he or she is aware of the program and is not interested in participating.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.

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