EAST ORANGE, NJ - On Wednesday Oct. 26, the City of East Orange’s Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs will officially launch its Free After School Meal Program during the Hunger Summit; an event designed to bring together leading community advocates and students for a workshop focused on closing the hunger gap all year round.

The Hunger Summit will be held at at East Orange Campus High School, 340 Prospect Street, East Orange, NJ from 8:30AM to 1:30PM.  Lunch will be provided.

According to Advocates for Children of New Jersey, while the number of municipalities which serve free summer meals has increased over the past few years, there is a still large amount of underutilized federal money available for programs that operate after school meal programs.

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“I am extremely proud of our continuing effort to enhance the quality life for our most vulnerable residents – our young people,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “Over 70% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, so the hunger gap is a critical issue for many of our families. Providing proper nutrition and nourishment to the growing, developing minds of our students is one of the many ways that we are working to ensure success for our children both inside and outside the classroom.”

Under the leadership of Director Osner J. Charles, the East Orange Food Service Program has expanded to better serve the children most at risk with dealing with hunger. Efforts have included increasing the locations of participating sites, aggressive marketing and outreach, cultivating partnerships with various state and local food agencies, as well as extending meal times.

Major highlights of the summit include:

United States Department of Agriculture Award Presentation

9:45AM

A USDA representative will recognize the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs for its successful Summer Meal Program, which fed over 2,300 children this past summer.

“Closing the Hunger Gap” Forum

10:45AM-11:45AM

Moderator:

Reginald Dorsey of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Panelists:

Stephanie Sutton-Page, Coordinator of New Jersey State Food Service Program

Sally Hammer, RD and Dietician of EO Shop Rite

Yolanda Shivers, Manager  of Sodexo, East Orange School District

Chesney Blue, RDN and Program Coordinator, East Orange WIC Program

Robert McGrady, CPT & PT Director of Strength & Fitness Club

Ravi Boze-Adams, Program Director, East Orange Food Programs

To learn more, please call the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs at 973.411.4141 or email teameo@eastorange-nj.gov.