A new report from Hunger Free New Jersey finds after-school suppers are a growing option for school children in need in the state.

Director Adele LaTourette says between 2016 and 2019, there was a 34% increase in the number of school children in the state taking advantage of after-school suppers.

"The more we offer the opportunity for children to eat in places that they go for after-school activities or in-school activities, the more hungry children we can feed," she said.

Nearly 24,000 children in the state receive a meal each day in the after school programs run by schools, community groups and local governments, according to the report.

But that represents about 6% of the number of eligible kids. Their goal is to grow that to 15%.

That 15% goal would bring in almost $20 million more federal dollars for the program.

After-school meals can be provided to children up to age 18. The funding comes from two federal programs: the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the National School Lunch Program.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5