New Jersey Joins Federal Summer Meal Program for Low-income Children

Low income families with school children in New Jersey will now be eligible to receive permanent food assistance during the summer months when schools are closed, under a new federal program.

New Jersey, along with 34 other states, has entered into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer grocery benefits program for children – officially known as the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer, which Congress approved in December, 2024.

The program is similar to the “food box” program which was enacted during the pandemic, but instead provides the money to parents who can then decide what to purchase.

Through this new program, states will provide families with $120 per eligible child, or $40 per month for each child, for the summer to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets or other authorized retailers – similar to how SNAP benefits are used.

Eligibility for the summer program is based off of the federal National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program eligibility thresholds, which is at or below 185% of the federal poverty line.

The additional funds will come via electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, and will be added to food assistance debit cards.

The program is federally funded, but states are responsible for covering half of the administrative costs.

The 15 states who chose not to participate are all led by Republican governors.

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  1. G… forbid kids eat in repubs states! But tax brakes for rich are approved! All the repubs in new jersey be sure to send benefits back. lol

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