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This program provides approximately 30 million lbs. of USDA food commodities valued at nearly $20 million dollars to over 700 participating school districts, child and adult day care centers, summer feeding programs, camps and charitable institutions throughout the state. A wide variety of foods are available, ranging from frozen beef and chicken, canned, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables and grain, oil and peanut products. Locally grown fruits and vegetables, when available, are also distributed under a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Defense.

Distribution Methods

The program utilizes commercial food storage warehouses and truckers to store and deliver foods to recipient agencies. All foods received through the NJDA’s warehouse system carry an administrative fee of $2.35 per case. This fee allows the NJDA to recoup operating costs and is the sole source of revenue to the program.

The program also provides commercially processed finished products to participating agencies.

Legislative Authority

Commodities are made available by the USDA under several pieces of federal legislation; including Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1934, Section 416 of the Agricultural Act of 1949 and Section 6 of the National School Lunch Act. The USDA informs the state what items and quantities are available based on the size of the participating population. Most items are offered in a limited quantity, but some are offered as “bonus” (over and above the state entitlement) in any amount that can reasonably be used without waste.

Allocation and Order System

The Food Distribution Program allocates available food items to participating agencies in relation to the recipient agencies eligible caseload, estimate of needs, storage capabilities and the agencies ability to use the items within a reasonable time period. Once an agency is approved to participate, they generally receive a food offering once per month. This “Food Allocation and Pick-Up Notice” lists the different items offered, quantity and commercial value. Participating agencies may select the specific items they desire from this listing.

Recipient agencies are responsible for arranging their own transportation from one of the NJDA’s two warehouse, located in Port Newark and Vineland NJ. Food pick dates are scheduled so that they are convenient for both the agency and the warehouse facility.


Once the recipient agency has taken possession of their commodities, the NJDA will invoice them $2.35 for each case received. Recipient agencies are responsible for the quantity of food their trucker picks up and for any losses that may occur in transit. They are also responsible to replace, at commercial value, any USDA foods lost or damaged while in their possession at any time.