OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – The pandemic has created a greater number of families finding themselves in financial crisis. Ocean County residents needing food assistance should know there are resources available.
Even when schools closed to in-class sessions, most districts continued to make meals available so that children would not go hungry. New Jersey government authorities have instituted a similar initiative throughout the summer.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture recently announced expansion of feeding sites made in conjunction with the USDA. Families needing help will not be required to prove that they are eligible for free or reduced priced school meals.
“One of our first priorities when the pandemic began was to make sure children had access to healthy meals,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher shared. “With the USDA’s Seamless Summer Option, along with the Summer Food Service Program, more meals are being provided to meet essential needs in this unprecedented time.”
The free summer meals are not just available for children 18 and younger. Adults over 18 who are enrolled in school programs for persons with disabilities may also receive meals. Lakewood, Toms River, and Little Egg Harbor, all have feeding sites within Ocean County. Locations and contact information can be located in this document. Sites throughout the state can also be located by texting FOOD to 877-877 or visiting https://bit.ly/3eCQygp.
Meals on Wheels of Ocean County distributes meals to seniors who are unable to prepare meals on their own. The service includes home delivery of one meal per week. To become part of the program, applicants should call Meals on Wheels at 609 978-6868.
Fulfill of Monmouth and Ocean Counties offers an extensive list of food pantries where families can access resources. Check here to learn the location and operation times.
The state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) will receive additional benefits in August to help address critical food needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional estimated $38.5 million will be provided to about 227,500 New Jersey households for August.
The supplemental benefits will be directly loaded to NJ SNAP recipients’ Families First EBT cards as part of their regular monthly payment.
“We encourage residents who need food assistance to visit and apply for SNAP online at www.NJHelps.org,” said Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs Human Services’ Division of Family Development and oversees the SNAP program.
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