School officials expanded the district’s self-operated halal food program to 10 more Paterson schools in the 2019-20 school year, said superintendent Eileen Shafer on Friday morning.
School 2, 7, 8, 9, 19, 27, 28, Don Bosco Technical Academy, International High School, and the Hani Awadallah School began serving halal food to students this month, according to the district.
“We are all very pleased by the success of the pilot Halal food program, and to see Halal food being made available at more schools throughout the district,” said superintendent Eileen Shafer on Friday.
Paterson may be the first school district in New Jersey to offer halal food to its students, said school officials.
The district has a big population of Muslim students. Paterson has one of the largest Muslim populations in the U.S.
Halal is similar to Kosher. Muslim students often avoid meat products that are not halal.
“As we have said before, a student cannot learn on an empty stomach. If we truly celebrate our diversity in the Paterson community as one of our strengths, then we cannot let a student’s religion be a reason to go hungry through the school day,” said Shafer.
Halal food will be offered at all district schools through a five-phase plan, according to the district. Majority of schools will be serving halal food by Thanksgiving.