(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro and Bob Andrzejczak to establish a non-lapsing revolving fund in the Department Agriculture to be known as the “Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund,” cleared an Assembly panel on Thursday.
The bill requires that all monies appropriated annually by the Legislature, federal and other grants received by the state, and any other monies made available for the purposes of the fund would be deposited in the fund.
“Establishing a more stable fund for school nutrition programs is exactly what is needed for their survival,” said Taliaferro (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester). “Without these programs many children in the state would go without having at least one nutritional meal a day. Nutritional programs are a great service to our communities and deserve a stable funding mechanism in place to ensure they will be around for future generations.”
Monies in the fund may be invested, and interest or the other income earned on these investments would be credited to the fund.
Monies in the “Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund” would be used by the Department Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Education, to provide support and funding to child food nutrition programs in the state, which would include:
(1) Funding outreach and programmatic support by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, or community-based organizations;
(2) Providing small grants to fund one-time startup or expansion costs of “breakfast after the bell” programs; and
(3) Providing small grants to fund one-time start-up or expansion costs of summer nutrition programs.
(4) Funding would be prioritized for award to districts or schools with the highest number of eligible students and lowest participation in the school breakfast program.
“There remains a great need for programs such as breakfast after bell and summer nutrition programs. By working together, we can ensure these critical programs will continue to serve children throughout New Jersey,” said Andrzejczak. “That’s why this bill brings the Departments of Education and Agriculture together to facilitate the requirements of the “Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund” further ensuring success of nutritional programs in the state.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Women and Children Committee. It will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.