RUIZ BILL TO REQUIRE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO PROMOTE SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAMS ADVANCES

Ruiz School Funding

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz that would require the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Department of Education, to develop promotional material for the “School Meal Program” and provide it to every school district in the state was approved today by the Senate Education Committee.

“This bill is all about doing everything we can to promote programs that are critical to matching families with resources that are available,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex).  “This material will publicize the value and importance of National School Lunch Program, the federal School Breakfast Program, and the Summer Food Service Program, all of which make an important contribution to the well-being of our kids.”

The promotional materials required by the bill include, but need not be limited to, pamphlets, presentation material, webinars and sample letters schools may send to parents.

A recent report by the Food Research and Action Center showed that New Jersey ranked 19th in the country for its low-income student participation rate. Even when breakfast is provided, students often cannot partake due to missing buses and arriving late or have too little time to sit down and eat their breakfast. New Jersey has made significant strides since 2011 when the State ranked 46th in the nation, but the progress has since stalled.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.