NEW JERSEY – In an effort to increase access to healthy meals the Senate this week advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz to help 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.”
The bill, S-530, would require hard copies of school meal program information be provided to parents at the start of the school year, along with an application. The information provided would include a notice that an application for the free school lunch and breakfast programs may be submitted at any time during the year and must be resubmitted annually.
Under the bill, parents would be required to either return the completed application or sign a card provided by the district stating they are aware of the program and are not interested in participating.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.