January 30, 2017
New Jersey lawmakers are now considering two bills that would create a fund to feed children and protect unemployed veterans from cuts to food assistance through NJ SNAP (food stamps).
Both bills have cleared legislative committees and are expected to advance in the coming weeks. The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition continues to advocate strongly for the passage of these important measures.
Under S-2819/A-4363, the Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund would be established in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to help defray the costs of effectively implementing the federal school breakfast and summer meals programs in high-poverty communities.
This will help to increase the number of low-income children receiving these meals, helping to combat growing childhood hunger. In addition, because schools and communities receive federal reimbursements for each meal served, this initiative has the potential to bring millions more dollars back to New Jersey to feed hungry kids.
Coalition Director Adele LaTourette, along New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign partners, testified in support of the measure.
New Jersey has the highest rates of unemployment among veterans – those who served in the military but are no longer on active duty, according to data published by the United States Department of Labor.
New Jersey’s nearly 11 percent unemployment rate among its veteran population in 2015 was roughly double the national average of 5.8 percent, according to a labor department report released in March 2016 analyzing U.S. Census data. That means an estimated 10,000 New Jersey veterans were unemployed in 2015.
These veterans struggle to make ends meet and face significant challenges in finding jobs. Now, many are also shut out of receiving food assistance that could ease their way as they search for gainful employment.
Under a federal rule that took effect in the summer of 2016, people between the ages of 18 and 49 who have no dependents and are not disabled can only receive food assistance through NJ SNAP (food stamps) for three months over a 3-year period if they do not meet certain special work requirements.
S-2876 would exempt veterans from these strict work requirements so they are eligible to receive this critical assistance.
The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition is a program of the Center for Food Action.
Visit njschoolbreakfast.org to learn more about the New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign.