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New text number steers NJ kids to summer meals 

The USDA has announced a new text number that parents and other caregivers can use to find free meals for children this summer.

People can text “summer meals” to 97779 or visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks to find local sites. Both the text number and website provide locations, meals served and times meals are served, based on a person’s zip code.

All children need healthy nutrition all year long to grow, be healthy and succeed in school. The federal Summer Meals Food Service Program is aimed at making sure that happens.

Getting the word out about summer meals

This summer, New Jersey will have about 1,300 sites across the state where children can receive free summer meals. With a growing number of sites available, we need to make sure parents and other caregivers know where to find meals for their children this summer.

Please help us spread the word to parents about these programs by:

  • Distributing the attached flyers in locations where children and families congregate.
  • Forwarding this email to your networks.
  • Posting on social media. See sample posts.

If you work directly with parents and other caregivers, distribute information to your clients via e-mail and flyers. A sample message is below.

Message to Parents/Caregivers
Re: Free food, fun for kids all summer long!

Free summer meals are available to kids and teens across [Community Name]. Many summer meals sites offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and being with friends.

Meals are free to children and teens ages 18 and younger and follow federal nutrition guidelines. At open sites, parents do not need to apply to the program or show proof of income to get a free summer meal for their kids. Simply bring your child to a summer meals site in your community.

To locate open meal sites, text “summer meals” to 97779, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks or e-mail SFSPCommunication@ag.state.nj.us.

In general, open summer meals sites are free and require no identification or income verification from parents. Unfortunately, many parents simply do not know they exist. In fact, in 2017, only about one-quarter of low-income New Jersey children received these meals.

Not only do these programs provide nutritious meals, they also give kids a chance to engage in fun, healthy activities during the summer months. Please help spread the word!

To find additional outreach strategies and tools, visit njsummermeals.org

The Food for Thought Campaign is a partnership of the New Jersey Departments of Agriculture and Education, child advocates, anti-hunger and health organizations, statewide education associations and national organizations.

View a list of campaign partners.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey
 35 Halsey Street 2nd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102
(Between Bleeker St. and Central Ave.)
973.643.3876 I Fax 973.643.9153 I www.acnj.org 
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