Summer should be a time of fun and frolicking for kids. But for some, the time away from school is overshadowed by hunger because they don't have ready access to breakfast and lunch at school.
The USDA and state agencies are currently seeking schools and out-of-school youth enrichment programs to offer free summer breakfasts, lunches and snacks through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) (for schools that operate Child Nutrition Programs). Both offer free meals to kids under 18 years of age. The SSO is a convenient option for schools to offer summer meals under the same operational guidelines as the NSLP, however, the reimbursement rate for meals is less than programs operating under the SFSP (SFSP 2018 Reimbursement Rates). This chart developed by the USDA outlines the differences between the SFSP, SSO and NSLP/NSBP.
The SFSP provides youth 18 years old and younger in eligible geographic areas -- generally defined as an area where at least 50% of children receive free or reduced-price school lunch -- with free meals adhering to the federal childhood nutritional guidelines. Meals are provided through a combination of sponsor sites and feeding sites, such as schools and nonprofit organizations, which may be providing summer enrichment programs. If you’re in an eligible geographic area, you can help curb summertime hunger by joining the program.
The USDA reimburses the sponsoring organization for each meal served.
Sponsoring Sites Versus Feeding Sites
Sponsors administer the SFSP at their site and can also oversee additional feeding sites, whether multiple locations within their own organization or other youth enrichment programs serving their same geographic vicinity. For example, the sponsoring organization may be a school district that is providing meals at multiple school buildings (feeding sites). Or, a nonprofit organization may serve as a sponsor and offer meals at one location, or more if it chooses to provide oversight for additional facilities' programs, providing each site is within an SFSP-approved area.
The sponsor provides meals to the feeding sites and reports meal counts to the USDA for reimbursement. Feeding sites must operate under the auspices of a sponsoring site. Their responsibilities are to coordinate food orders and distribution through the sponsoring organization, and to raise awareness of the free meals in their surrounding areas.
If your school/district participates in the SFSP, NutriStudents K-12 can help streamline your menu planning, food preparation and reporting with our 10 weeks of complete plug-and-play SFSP menus.
Extensive Resources Support Participating Sites
Participating in the SFSP does not have to be burdensome. The USDA has developed a wide range of resources to support schools and organizations interested in participating in the SFSP, whether as as sponsor or a feeding site. NutriStudents K-12 is happy to be a resource as well.
Learn more about the program with the USDA's SFSP Fact Sheet.
Contact your state agency for details in your state and to apply.