🔷 NJ leads federal program

🔷 Kids get money for healthy groceries

🔷 Cards loaded with funds being sent out

New Jersey is among the first states to roll out a new federal program that gives summer grocery money to food-insecure kids.

Eligible NJ kids and their families would be getting extra funds on electronic Summer EBT cards, to spend on health meals while school is out — in addition to existing meals programs.

As an estimate, roughly 550,000 NJ children qualify for free and reduced meals, state Secretary of Agriculture Ed Wengryn said in an interview with New Jersey 101.5.

(Getty Images)

Federal money — $40 per month for the span of June through August — was being loaded onto a card, the same way Supplemental Nutrition Programs and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) funds have been distributed.

The total $120 can be spent on fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy and grains at grocery stores, farm markets or wherever cards are swiped, Wengryn said.

Photo, Jordan Jansson)
Photo, Jordan Jansson)

Strawberries and green leafy vegetables were among Jersey Fresh produce already in season as of early June.

They can be paid for using the Summer EBT cards — along with other local summer favorites, like blueberries, tomatoes and sweet corn.

Wengryn said ideally, the funds are to be used throughout June, July and August — though each card holder has control of when to spend the money at participating retailers.

To see if a child is eligible and/or apply for the benefit, families can contact the child’s school.

There also is a comprehensive look at the supplemental federal program online - at NJ.gov/summerebt.

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