Summer Feeding Program

Summer_Feeding_Circle

The USDA 2015 Summer Food Service Program has been significantly expanded in Cumberland County as a result of the efforts of the Cumberland County Positive Youth Development Coalition. The county will enjoy at least 3 new sponsors and 20 new sites where children can receive free and nutritionally balanced lunches this summer.

According to data provided by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in 2014, 88% of youth in Cumberland County who were eligible for the Summer Food Service Program did not receive its benefits. In the January meeting of the Cumberland County Positive Youth Development Coalition, Tracy Swan, Sr. Project Coordinator, Walter Rand Institute, tasked its Members with establishing at least one new site for summer 2015 in each of the three major municipalities: Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland.

City of Bridgeton Mayor, Albert Kelly, who chairs the Coalition’s Greater Bridgeton Area Breakout Group, was eager to accept the challenge.  “We’re all familiar with the research that shows how important proper nutrition is to good health and learning, so it’s hard to overstate how important the in-school program is for these youngsters. But when summer comes and the school year ends, so does the access to these meals. That’s why the Summer Food Service Program is critical as a way to help children maintain good health and nutrition over the summer break…”

Data shows that when children have proper nutrition, they are better able to listen, learn, and behave. In fact, a lack of proper nutrients actually changes brain chemistry and creates an inability in youth to control their behavior. Since there is such a strong connection between nutrition and behavior, Coalition members felt it was vital to bring the Summer Food Service Program to more youth in the county.

Coalition members are pleased that they have exceeded the challenge given to them by Tracy Swan. Five new sites have been established in Vineland, two in Millville, and 13 in Bridgeton this summer.  Tracy exclaimed, “We are ecstatic that the Coalition not only embraced the challenge, but basically hit it out of the ball park. Coalition members went above and beyond to ensure that hundreds of additional Cumberland County youth will be well-fed this summer. And since many of the new sites are also offering programming for youth, it is our hope that not only will these youth have a well-balanced lunch, but will also be engaged and occupied during the day, lessening any temptation to get into trouble.”

If you want information about local Summer Food Service Program sites text Food to 877-877. Once you text this number, you will be prompted to give your street address, city and zip code. When you reply, you will be given contact information for the food service sites closest to you.

Cumberland County 2015 Summer Food Service Sites by Municipality:

Bridgeton

Amity Heights Apartments

John Wesley United

Country Side Apartments

Temple Vision Corporation ALMS Center

West Avenue School

Excel

Bridgeton High School

Buckshutem Road School

Everett P. Marino Center

Bridgeton Villa Apartments

Bridgeton Commons

Greater Bridgeton Family Success Center

Burlington Manor Apartments

First United Methodist

St. John’s United Methodist Church

Trinity United Methodist Church

Salvation Army

 

Millville

Holly City Family Center

Holly Berry Court

Holly City Family Success Center

Lakeside Summer Camps

Child Family Center

 

Vineland

Christlike Ministries

Cumberland County College/GEARUP

Vineland High School North

Landis Middle School

Sabater Elementary

YMCA of Vineland

Higher Places Ministries

Boys and Girls Club of Vineland

Vineland PAL

Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey

Cunningham Alternative School

Visions of Hope

 

Commercial Township

Port Norris Middle School 21st Century Summer Program