Thank you for your interest in helping to feed
children in your community as a sponsor in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)!
Here is information about how the program works and the role of sponsors and
feeding sites—as well as the steps to apply to become a sponsor.
How SFSP Works:
SFSP is administered at the Federal level by the
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA). FNS decides overall program policy and publishes regulations
and payment rates. State education agencies administer SFSP in most States.
Other State agencies may also be assigned to run the program.
The State agency
approves sponsor applications, conducts training of sponsors, monitors SFSP
operations, and processes program payments. Sponsors sign agreements with their
State agencies to run the program.
SFSP reimburses approved sponsors for serving
meals that meet Federal nutritional guidelines. Sponsors receive payments from
USDA, through their State agencies, based on the number of meals they serve. All
meals are served free to eligible children.
Role of a Sponsor:
Sponsors are organizations that manage SFSP feeding sites. As a sponsor, you
- Attend your State agency's training
- Locate and recruit eligible sites
- Hire, train, and supervise staff
- Arrange for meals to be prepared or
- Monitor your sites
- Prepare claims for reimbursement
- Ensure that your Summer Food
project and sites are sustainable through community partnerships,
fundraising, and volunteer recruitment.
Who Can Be a Sponsor:
Sponsors must be organizations that are fully
capable of managing a food service program. To be a sponsor, you must follow
regulations and be responsible, financially and administratively, for running
The following types of organizations can be
Public or private nonprofit schools
Units of local, municipal, county,
or State government
Private nonprofit organizations
Public or private nonprofit camps
Public or private nonprofit
universities or colleges
What is a Site:
A site is the physical location, approved by the
State agency, where you serve SFSP meals during a supervised time period. States classify and approve SFSP meal sites as open, closed enrolled, camp,
migrant, or NYSP:
- Open sites operate in low-income areas where at least 50 percent
children residing in the area are eligible for free and reduced-price school
meals, based on local school or
census data. The meals are served free to any child
at the site on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Closed enrolled sites are established for a specific group of
children who enroll in an organized activity program or who do not
reside in an eligible low income area. The site becomes eligible for SFSP if at least half of the enrolled children qualify for free and reduced-price
meals. Because the site is not open to the community, meals are served free
only to enrolled children.
- Camps are sites that
offer regularly scheduled food service along with organized activities for
enrolled residential or day campers. The camp receives
reimbursement only for meals served to enrolled children who qualify
and reduced-price meals.
Migrant sites primarily serve children of migrant workers.
The site qualifies by providing appropriate certification from a
NYSP College or
university participating in the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP). Children
must be enrolled in NYSP to participate.
Who Can Become a Site
Meal service sites may be located in a variety of settings, including schools, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, churches, community centers, day camps, residential summer camps, housing projects, and migrant centers, or on Indian reservations.
Some organizations do not have the financial or
administrative ability to run the program, but they can supervise a food service
for children, along with recreational or enrichment activities, at a site.
If you supervise a site, you will:
- Attend your sponsor's training
- Supervise activities and meal
service at your site
- Manage volunteers
- Distribute meals by following SFSP
- Keep daily records of meals served
- Store food appropriately
- Keep the site clean and sanitary
- Help your sponsor promote the program in the community
How to Prepare Meals
A sponsor may prepare its own
purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or contract for meals
with a food service management company (vendor).
If your site has its own kitchen, you may want to
prepare meals yourself. If your kitchen is not on the premises, you may still
want to prepare your own meals, and then transport them to the site. Meals that
you prepare yourself receive a slightly higher rate of reimbursement. You would
receive “self-prep” rates, whether you prepare the meals from scratch or
purchase the components and assemble the meals yourself.
Many government and private nonprofit sponsors
lack the kitchen facilities to prepare meals themselves. In that case, you may
arrange to purchase meals from a school or another public or private food
supplier with approved meal preparation facilities.
How to Apply
To apply, contact the SFSP agency in your State. Each State has its own
application and training process. Click here for a list of State contact
information and deadlines.