July 2016Vol. 17, No. 5Summer Food Service Program
The National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program available in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions, provides low-cost or free lunches to children during the school day. Many children and families, particularly low-income children, rely on these school lunches as an important part of their daily nutrition. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) aims to help fill the gap in low-income children and families' nutritional needs over the summer months when school is out and school lunch programs are not available. SFSP sites may be sponsored by School Food Authorities, local government agencies, private nonprofit organizations, universities or colleges, and community and faith-based organizations. During the summer of 2016, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.
USDA's website offers many resources to help get the word out about SFSP and get families connected to programs in their areas. These include the following:
- A How to Participate in Summer Meals factsheet: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/sfsp/SFSP-Fact-Sheet.pdf (87 KB)
- A searchable map to help users find sites participating in summer meals programs within their communities: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks
- The bilingual (English/Spanish) Summer Food, Summer Moves Resource Kit, designed for use by summer meal site operators to get kids and families excited about healthy eating and physical activity during the summer months: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/summer-food-summer-moves
- A Summer Meals toolkit for individuals and organizations interested in promoting summer meal programs in their communities that includes tips for getting the word out (including in underserved areas/populations), information on program policy and administration, ideas for planning and collaborating with stakeholders, and more: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-meals-toolkit
USDA's website also offers information on its Seamless Summer Option, available to schools already participating in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs. To learn more about SFSP and other options for ensuring children don't go hungry and continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer months, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp.