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Summer Meals Program: Reaching the Teenage Population

For most kids, the end of the school year is a time for celebration! But for those who rely on free breakfast and lunch during the school year, this may not be the case. Instead, kids and their parents need to figure out how to replace those meals.

Nationwide, only 12 percent of eligible children in need utilize the available supplemental meals over the summer. This summer, the Food Bank of South Jersey (FSBJ) is expanding its Summer Meals program to reach and feed more of those children in need.

Meals on the Move

Traditionally, the FBSJ’s Summer Meals program has teamed up with local summer and church camps, organized child care sites and more to provide needed nutritional meals to children. Unfortunately, there are many children and teenagers in South Jersey whose families cannot afford to send them to these activities.

To help bridge this gap, the FBSJ is expanding its Summer Meals program to bring meals to these children and teenagers through nontraditional ways.

Enter the FBSJ’s School Bus Café. This renovated school bus has brought meals, along with a safe place to eat, to three housing communities in Salem County for the past three years. This year, the FBSJ aims to utilize its School Bus Café and add three refrigerated vans in order to increase the number of mobile summer meals deliveries. The goal is to grow from one run with three sites to four runs with six sites each. The sites will include community pools, farmers markets, local parks, basketball courts and housing complexes.

“Teenagers are a population that get underserved because they have aged out of the traditional programs that feed children over the summer. So, if they want food, they have to seek it out. We want to bring high quality and nutritious meals directly to the areas they hang out so we can make it a fun event and have more impact in the communities we serve.”

Jennifer McClay, Director of Programs and Services

Community Partnerships                                                                          

Without community and corporate partnerships, the FBSJ’s Summer Meals program would not be possible. The FBSJ recently partnered with the Camden City Department of Parks and Recreation to deliver meals to children enrolled in Parks and Recreation summer programs, once the program ends for the day.

To learn about ways to get involved with the FBSJ’s Summer Meals Program and help feed the more than 57,000 food insecure children in South Jersey, email info@foodbanksj.org or call 856-662-4884.

About the Grantee

Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ)

The Food Bank of South Jersey provides food to people in need, delivers health and wellness programs, and designs sustainable solutions to help people improve their lives.