Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Address Food Insecurity Among New Jersey College Students
“Constant access to healthy meals is a basic human right, a fact that has become all too clear to New Jersey families as they struggle to make ends meet amid a global pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “We have fought with the parents of our students to provide our children with the tools they need to grow and excel, and today we demonstrate our intention to redouble our efforts in the fight against food insecurity. Fundamentally, by launching extensive public awareness campaigns, we will work to ensure that free, nutritious meals are not only available, but easily accessible, for every student in New Jersey.
“No student should go hungry at school. We know that students do better on tests and retain more information when they receive the nutrition they need, and these two bills will ensure that students in New Jersey are ready to succeed in school,” said U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. “I commend Governor Murphy, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, and the New Jersey Legislature for their leadership on this issue and their support for our New Jersey schools, teachers, and students.
“The law is critical to meeting the needs of many working families and puts us on the direct path to getting breakfast and lunch to every child who needs it,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “Millions of New Jerseyans have experienced unemployment during the pandemic, which means they face more food insecurity, many are still struggling to meet their bills. Helping to keep money in people’s pockets, while ensuring that more New Jersey students and their families can rely on access to the free school meals they need to succeed, has never been more important. .
“Food insecurity for New Jersey families is an issue that has become all the more evident since the pandemic,” said Senator Teresa Ruiz. “For many New Jersey kids, the meals they get at school are their only source of food each day. That’s why universal free school lunch is a goal our state should strive to achieve and today we’re taking another step to help all struggling families, which is not specific exclusively for low-income families. By expanding the free lunch program to more children, we are helping more New Jersey families foster a healthy academic experience for all of our students.
“As we strive to expand the assistance available to families struggling with food insecurity, many programs continue to be underutilized,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This legislation will help increase enrollment in the free school meals scheme, ensuring that we reach as many eligible pupils as possible. A child should not be expected to learn on an empty stomach.
“Given the steep increase in the cost of living, food insecurity is a major concern for many families across the state. Data has long shown a correlation between access to nutritious meals and the ability of school children to learn and stay healthy,” said Senator Joe Vitale, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens. “This initiative will help ease some of the economic burden and insecurity for working families in New Jersey so they know they can afford to put meals on the table for their family members.”
“Ensuring that children have access to adequate nutrition is essential not only to their overall health, but also to their academic success,” said Congresswoman Pamela R. Lampitt. “As many working families continue to experience the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can sometimes be difficult to put food on the table. By expanding eligibility for free breakfast and lunch programs, we will provide families with the support they need during times of financial uncertainty and help ensure that no student is forced to go hungry.
“Making sure they have a good start in the morning and are nourished throughout the school day prepares our children for academic success,” said Congresswoman Mila M. Jasey. “By expanding the requirements for these free school lunch programs, we can reach more children across the state and help more families in times of need.”
“We’ve done a great job of making sure students across the state have school lunch options. Along with the work that has been done to create these meal options, it is also very important to ensure that families are aware of existing and expanding meal programs that they can choose from. Giving families choices will help us ensure children have access to healthy meal options during the school year,” said MP Danielsen, MP Giblin and MP Jaffer.
“As a former teacher, I know the importance of having well-nourished students in the classroom who have the energy to learn. Too often, students fall behind because they are too tired to participate,” said South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry. “With these two bills, the Governor and State Legislature continue to show that they work for all New Jersey citizens. On behalf of South Amboy and our school district, I want to thank Governor Murphy, President Coughlin and the Combined State Legislature for passing these bills and giving our students a better chance at a better education, because our students are our future.
“Today’s signing of Bills A2368 and A2365 sets in motion the ability of schools to nurture the minds and bodies of scholars from middle-income families. South Amboy Public Schools is dedicated to our vision of ensuring equity for all scholars regardless of the factor that might otherwise consider access to quality education and other daily needs beyond their reach. . Providing access to healthy, affordable food keeps scholars fueled and ready to learn. Over the past few months, our school board chair, Patrick Walsh, and I have discussed ways to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our district and referenced his third-grade research. cycle that, in part, reveal that social factors such as a student’s race and socioeconomic status have a direct impact on student health outcomes. The bills signed into law today by Governor Murphy not only support these discussions, but they implement across the State of New Jersey our District’s vision and goal to equitably expand access to all resources for all academics, including essential food safety net programs. The work of President Coughlin, Governor Murphy and other legislators has leveled the playing field for all scholars and provided schools with a means to nurture the whole child,” said South Amboy Schools Superintendent Dr. Frederick D. Williams.