Free Meals for Kids This Summer – 2024

Little girl getting a bag lunch at a distribution site

Summer Meal Programs for Kids

For hungry kids, the final bell of the school year signifies the loss of access to some of their most reliable sources of food – school breakfasts and lunches served daily, nutritious dinners provided at afterschool programs, and Family Packs distributed on Fridays. And this summer as families face inflation and high gas prices, their situation will be especially critical.

That’s why the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) is ramping up efforts to provide for families in need this summer. Through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), healthy food prepared by our professional staff, volunteers, and Food Service Training Academy students will be served at 30 sites across the state, including camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, libraries, and more. These nutritionally balanced meals will be available onsite at the locations mapped below.

In South Jersey, where child hunger is especially high, CFBNJ’s Egg Harbor Township location will also continue its years-long summer partnership with Let Us Eat – Please, an initiative with Atlantic County law firm Cooper Levenson that provides biweekly groceries to families in need at participating school districts.

Summer SNAP Benefits for Kids (Summer EBT)

In June 2024, New Jersey will launch Summer EBT, a  child nutrition program intended to reduce hunger and food insecurity for children during the summer when school is not in session. 

Most families will get these benefits automatically, but some parents will need to apply. The new program is in addition to free meals that kids of all ages can get at summer meal sites in their communities.

Benefits of Summer EBT

  • Helps parents and caregivers buy healthy foods for their children. 
  • Gives families the flexibility to select foods that fit their culture and lifestyle. 
  • Improves food security and diet quality for children.

Eligibility and Enrollment

Children are eligible for the program if:

  • the household already participates in SNAP, FDPIR, TANF, etc., OR
  • the child attends a school that offers the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program and the household income meets the federal requirements for free or reduced-price school meals.

Many families will get NJ Summer EBT automatically, but some families may need to apply.

How Summer EBT Works

The benefits will be mailed on a new EBT card for each child and can be used to buy groceries. Families will receive $120 per eligible child for the summer. Benefits can be used at authorized retailers, like grocery stores and farmers markets, to purchase healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, meats and other protein sources, whole grains, and dairy. Click here to learn more.

How to Find Food

This summer, CFBNJ will provide nutritious meals through the SFSP until August 31. To find USDA-approved sites that are free and open to kids 18 and under, visit the 2024 Summer Meals Site Finder (coming soon). However, this will not include every CFBNJ site on the map below, so make sure to check both.

Our Find Food page makes it easy to locate a CFBNJ food pantry near you.

If you need additional food resources, our Resource Access team can help you apply for apply or recertify for SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps). Call our Food Assistance Line at 908-838-4831. Help is available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

How to Help CFBNJ

Volunteers ages 16 and up are needed, especially at our Egg Harbor Township location. Volunteer at CFBNJ to help make a difference.

You can also donate to CFBNJ to give hope to hungry kids during their most difficult time of the year. Every $1 provides three nutritious meals!

Summer Meal Sites for Kids

Use this Google Map to find the summer meal location nearest you. PLEASE NOTE: Some locations are the sites for summer programs that require enrollment. These are marked with a green pin.