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NJ Department of Agriculture Distributes Summer EBT Benefits to 500K-plus Children

NJ Department of Agriculture Distributes Summer EBT Benefits to 500K-plus Children

From the state Department of Agriculture

New Jersey Department of Agriculture Facebook page

Newly eligible families are encouraged to apply

With already more than 550,000 children across the state receiving their Summer EBT benefits, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Ed Wengryn today (June 12) encouraged families who have not already done so to apply for the new Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program. New Jersey is one of the 37 states participating in this new, permanent, nationwide USDA program to provide food dollars to low-income families with school-aged children over the summer months.

New Jersey is providing families with $120 per eligible child for the summer to buy nutritious food at grocery stores, farmers markets, or other authorized retailers – similar to how SNAP benefits are used. New Jersey’s total Summer EBT distribution is expected to amount to more than $66 million in federal food security benefits. As the school year comes to an end, more than 550,000 children in 722 participating school food authorities are receiving benefits under the Summer EBT program.

“New Jersey students rely on school breakfasts and lunches to get the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and thrive,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “With the new Summer EBT program, we are bridging the gap to ensure that our students have access to nutritious foods, even when school is not in session. We are proud to have already distributed benefits to more than 550,000 eligible students, and the program will continue to provide critical assistance to low-income families across the state.”

“We are pleased that so many eligible children and families have decided to take advantage of this important program that can help provide healthy meal options during the summer months when school lunch programs are not available,” Secretary Wengryn said. “We want every family and child eligible to be aware of this opportunity as they should not have to be concerned about where their next meal is coming from.”

Under the program, eligible students are certified through their school districts, which must participate in the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs. Eligible students must meet the income threshold for federal free and reduced-price meals, including those who attend schools that provide free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Additionally, students who are enrolled in SNAP, TANF, or foster care will be eligible for Summer EBT, regardless of where they attend school. Applications will still be accepted throughout the summer. To apply for Summer EBT benefits, families should contact their local school district.

“School meal programs are vital for New Jersey’s children and families, so we are thrilled to be able to make a summer meal benefit available in partnership with the Departments of Agriculture and Education,” Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “The Summer EBT program will help families purchase groceries during the summer months, so children continue to have access to healthy meals while they are out of school. Families enrolled in SNAP, TANF or the school lunch programs are automatically eligible for Summer EBT. Families who do not participate in these programs, but may benefit from this assistance, can visit the Summer EBT website to check their eligibility and learn how to apply.”

“The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program has already made a significant impact on the lives of many New Jersey children,” said Acting Commissioner of Education Kevin Dehmer. “With over half a million children in our state eligible, this innovative program bridges the gap of school-year breakfast and lunch programs to ensure that our children have access to nutritious meals throughout the summer. This ongoing initiative is crucial for food security and helps our students stay healthy and prepared for the upcoming school year.”

“New Jersey continues to lead food security work in the country through its commitment to Summer EBT,” said New Jersey Office of Food Security Advocate Director Mark Dinglasan. “The effort to stand up this program has been a multi-agency collaborative effort enhanced by strong community partnerships that reminds us all that providing much needed support to families in need is possible when we all work together.”

Information about New Jersey’s Summer EBT program, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, can be found on the State’s Summer EBT website at: https://www.nj.gov/summerebt/.

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