NJ 2-1-1 Newsletter - Summer 2016

Hunger Goes Beyond Last Bell

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When school lets out for the summer a child's need for food does not go away. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to fill this potential nutrition gap, ensuring children can get the nutritious meals they need to stay healthy and alert. This program is free-of-charge and does not require any enrollment at many of the community-based locations.

There are three types of feeding locations in the SFSP: Open, Enrolled and Campsite. Open locations are found in neighborhoods where the household income for the majority of families living there falls below 185% of the federal poverty guideline (FPL). All children 18 and younger, as well as people of all ages who are physically or mentally disabled and participating in special school programs, are welcome at these locations. Enrolled and Campsite locations serve eligible children who are participants in the activity program or campsite. 

There are several ways to find out where free meals are being served this summer.

  • Call 2-1-1 24/7
  • Access the official NJ state listing (due to be updated shortly)
  • Access local information from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service national listing
  • Call the National Hunger Hotline (1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre) – M-F 9:00 am-5:00 pm; SA 10:00 am-2:00pm
  • Search our online database at the top of this page using the term “summer food”
  • Text “food” to 877-877

Become a SFSP Sponsor

The NJ Department of Agriculture administers the SFSP in our state and is looking for organizations (school districts, local government agencies, camps or private non-profit organizations) interested in providing meals for children-in-need this summer. Learn more about how you can become a sponsor in this program.

How to Participate in Summer Meals

Learn more about the Summer Food Service Program.

Download a flyer about the Summer Food Service Program in English or in Spanish.

Preparing for Strong Winds

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Since its inception, NJ 2-1-1 has had strong ties with emergency preparedness and recovery organizations. Over the years we have worked in close partnership with NJ VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), NJOEM (NJ Office of Emergency Management), as well as non-profit and faith-based organizations throughout our state. “In times of disaster, just as in all times, NJ 2-1-1 is the great connector,” states board president Gina Plotino. “We keep callers informed as to where they can find recovery services and programs and we let response and recovery teams know what people are saying they need when they call.” In one month's time following Superstorm Sandy, close to 80,000 people visited the storm-related pages of our website. From November 1 through December 1, NJ 2-1-1 responded to 6,400 disaster related inquiries, building upon its history of collaboration with governmental entities during Hurricane Irene in 2011, the severe flooding of northern New Jersey in 2007 and multiple heat waves and cold spells through the years.

While the national hurricane season began on June 1 and will continue through the end of November, here in the Garden State the season more typically takes hold sometime in mid-August. The first line of defense against the effects of any disaster is personal preparedness. This includes creating an emergency kit and an emergency plan. Your kit should include any items you would need to stay self-sufficient for at least three days (canned food, bottled water, a first-aid kit, prescription medication, a battery-operated flash light and radio, blanket, and manual can opener are some of the items you may need.) Your plan should include an evacuation strategy, a designated location to reunite with loved ones and an out-of-state contact person.

More information about hurricane preparedness steps can be found here where you will also find links to Red Cross Ready Tip Sheets, advice on how to protect your home from storms and flooding; a listing of pet friendly hotels, and information on how to acquire training so that you can volunteer to assist in times of disaster.

If you or someone in your home has special needs, you are encouraged to add your name to New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry. This can be done online or by calling 2-1-1. By registering annually you are informing local emergency responders of your needs and giving them details that will help them to assist you should the situation arise.

LIVE Chat Services Now Available

LIVE chat services began on May 16 at NJ 2-1-1. Available from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Monday through Friday, those using the service are able to connect with NJ 2-1-1 referral specialists who will be able to search our resource database and offer the same kinds of referrals that, until now, were only available via a phone call to our call center.

Chat services are expected to provide easy access to help. This new feature will prove very useful to those who are less inclined to talk with a specialist, as well as others who do not have the privacy they need to speak with someone about their concerns.To start a chat, simply click on the blue "Chat Now" button in the upper right corner of any page on our website.

Page last modified/reviewed on December 20, 2016

If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include in this section, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at info@nj211.org

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