Statewide program helps kids get meals during the summer months

Posted: Updated:

A statewide program is helping children in need to get a nutritious meal during the summer months when they aren’t in school.

“We’ve noticed the kids come with soda in the morning, candy or nothing,” says Gila Comet with the Englewood Parks and Recreation Department.

Comet says she has seen the need for good meals within her community pool program. This summer the department will work to feed those in need by providing breakfast and lunch to anyone under 18 years old.

“We start as early as 7:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.,” says Comet. “A lot of kids don’t have food to get them through the long hours of the day.

Englewood is working with Hunger Free New Jersey to provide the meals. The organization is working with other towns in the state as well.

“We have about 1,300 sites for summer food across the state,” says director Adele LaTourette.

Hunger Free New Jersey makes it easy to find a site for a meal – simply text “Food” to 9779 or visit the program’s website.

"This is an effort to really try and fill that gap and Hunger Free New Jersey has been working very hard to get the word out about summer meals and to expand access to the program,” LaTourette says.

LaTourette says that the most important part is to find out whether your closest site is an open site - meaning anyone is welcome - or if there's a fee or enrollment required.

Any child is welcomed at the Englewood pool.

"We really want this to become part of their lives as they're coming to swim or walking by,” says Comet. “We want them to feel welcome and excited and happy to come and have food."

Each summer food site has a different start date. More information can be found on the Hunger Free New Jersey website.

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