Lawmakers in Washington have approved a bipartisan plan to extend the federal Keep Kids Fed Act right before it would have expired at the end of June.

According to Cheri Andes, the senior regional organizer for the group Bread for the World, the legislation is very important for many New Jersey families because “it will keep kids fed through the summer, and it will actually extend school meals for low-income children through the rest of the year.”

About a third of students in New Jersey are eligible for free lunch, nearly 400,000 children.

Hunger in NJ

Andes noted many people may not realize it but “nearly 800,000 people in New Jersey, 200,000 of them children, face hunger."

“This is critical for families, hunger-related issues in the state disproportionately impact Black and Latino households," she said.

NJ school lunch kids
(Getty Stock)

Andes said it’s been proven that children born to mothers who have received proper nutrition during pregnancy have higher IQs than other kids whose mothers did not get ample nutritious food, and we know “for children to be able to pay attention in school, for children to stay awake, to have the energy, they need to have the proper nutrition to grow in a proper way.”

Federal funds are needed

She pointed out a lot of different organizations help to feed the hungry in the Garden State but “most of those programs are subsidized by the federal government, and most of them needed this bill to pass.”

The measure now goes to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

Bread for the World is a non-partisan Christian advocacy organization that advocates for a variety of different policy changes in the U.S. and around the world to end hunger.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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