Release No. 0249.10
USDA Office of Communications
USDA Announces Demonstration Projects
to Improve Child Nutrition During Summer Break
Innovative Programs to Deliver
Benefits to Children in Need
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced
that USDA will conduct two statewide, multi-year demonstration projects in
Arkansas and Mississippi to test innovative approaches for increasing
participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
"Our efforts to combat hunger cannot end when the school bell rings on the
last day of the school year, which is why these Summer Food Service Program
demonstration projects will test new and innovative ways to reduce hunger and
improve nutrition among children when school is not in session" said Secretary
Tom Vilsack. "The Obama Administration is committed to passing a robust
reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act that will fund additional projects
like these to address hunger and nutrition in creative new ways, and takes major
strides to increase access and improve nutrition for our nation's children."
In the summer of 2010, two types of demonstration projects will be
implemented and evaluated:
- Arkansas - The Extending Length of Operation Incentive Project will
provide funding to sponsors that operate SFSP meal sites for a minimum of 40
days in the summer. An additional $0.50 reimbursement will be provided for
each lunch served at sites that are open for this length of time or longer.
The purpose of this demonstration is to determine whether a financial
incentive can encourage programs of longer duration, thereby improving
access to meals for low-income children for a greater portion of the summer.
- Mississippi - The Activity Incentive Project will provide funding to
local sponsors to plan and implement enrichment or recreational activities
at SFSP meal sites. Activities and special events help draw children to meal
sites and keep site participation high. The goal of this demonstration
project is to provide sponsors with additional funding to create activities
at their sites that will increase SFSP participation.
Every five years, Congress considers improvements to the Child Nutrition Act,
which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs, including the
Summer Food Service Program. The Obama Administration has proposed a
historic investment of an additional $10 billion over ten years, starting in
2011, that will allow for the improvement of the quality of nutrition assistance
programs, increase the number of kids participating in these programs, and
ensure schools have the resources they need to make program changes, including
training for school food service workers, upgraded kitchen equipment, and
additional funding for meal reimbursements for schools that are enhancing
nutrition and quality.
Nationwide, an average of 20 percent of children who received free or
reduced-price meals at school also received meals in the summer. However, last
year in Arkansas only about 10.5 percent of free and reduced-price eligible
children received some form of nutrition assistance in the summer. In
Mississippi, summer meals reached only about 7.9 percent of eligible children.
"The Summer Food Service Program is a vital nutrition resource during the
months students are not in school," said Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and
Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. "We know that there are many children who
need nutritious food but don't have access to a program in their area. We need
more organizations to sponsor sites and sponsors need additional resources from
the community in order to succeed in reaching children who need meals."
The SFSP demonstration projects are being conducted under the authority and
funding provided by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug
Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010. The
Appropriations Act authorized USDA to use $85 million to develop and test
alternative methods of providing access to food for low-income children in urban
and rural areas during the summer months, when schools are not in regular
session. Additional demonstration projects will be conducted in future years.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance
programs including the Summer Food Service Program; the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women,
Infants, and Children; the Emergency Food Assistance Program; and the National
School Lunch Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition
safety net. USDA administers these programs in partnership with state and local
agencies and works with faith and community-based organizations to ensure that
nutrition assistance is available to those in need. Additional information about
the Summer Food Service Program can be found at