Did you miss any of our wonderfully informative summer meals webinars? Or maybe you wanted to watch them again and download the presentations? Well, you can access them all here.
Click on any of the links below to watch the recorded webinar and download the presentation and handouts from the webinar.
- July 10 - Ignite your #SummerMeals Questions! – Ask USDA
- June 2 - How Your 4-H Program Can Feed Summer Meals to Children
- May 29 - Mastering the Summer for New Sites & Sponsors
- May 27 - Engaging Youth Volunteers in the Summer Meals Program
- May 15 - How Housing Communities Can Feed Summer Meals to Children
- May 13 - How Health Centers Can Feed Summer Meals to Children
- May 2 - Read and Feed: Feeding Young Minds and Bodies During the Summer
- April 29 - SNAP and Summer Meals Programs for 1994 Tribal Land-Grant College
- April 21 - Summer Meals: Responsibilities and Opportunities for Schools
- April 9 - Make Your Summer Meals Site the Talk of the Town
- April 3 - Finding Ways to Keep Schools Involved in Summer Meals
- March 27 - How Can You Solve Your Summer Meals Transportation Problems?
- March 25 - Utilizing Grants & Unique Partnerships to Serve More Summer Meals
- March 19 – Food That’s In When School Is Out – The Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Meals
- March 13 - Can Elected Officials Help Feed Hungry Kids This Summer?
- March 11 - Be a Summer Meals Champion
- March 6 - Exploring the New USDA Summer Meals Toolkit & Website
You can also watch and share all of our 2014 summer meals on our YouTube playlist.
Highlighted below are frequently asked questions from the webinar series.
1. What is the age requirement for children participating in the USDA summer meal programs?
Meals may be served to persons 18 years of age and under and those over age 18 who meet the State agency’s definition of mentally or physically disabled.
2. Can the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals at another school in the same attendance area be used to established area eligibility of a school?
Yes. For example, if a high school with less than 50 percent free or reduced-price school enrollment is located in the attendance area of a middle school where 50 percent or more of the enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, the high school would be area eligible.
3. How many sites may a sponsor be approved to operate?
All sponsors may be approved to operate a maximum of 200 sites and serve a maximum total average daily attendance of 50,000 children. However, sponsors must demonstrate financial and administrative capability for Program operations for all sites at which they propose to conduct a food service. For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/Administration/Policy/SFSP-02-2011.pdf.
4. Are churches required to have Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status in order to be eligible to participate in the Summer Food Service Program as a sponsor?
No. Churches are exempt from this requirement. All private nonprofit sponsors, excluding churches, must have tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to be eligible to participate in the Summer Food Service Program. For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CACFP05_SFSP09-2013.pdf.
5. How many reimbursable meals may be served at a site per day?
Open, restricted open, and closed enrolled sites may be reimbursed for up to two reimbursable meals or a meal and a snack each day. The meals may be of any combination except lunch and supper. Camps and migrant sites may be approved for reimbursement of up to three meals, or two meals and a snack daily.
6. Can a site charge a fee to participate in the activity portion of its program?
Yes. Access to meal service at open sites, however, must be free. Although it is common for enrolled programs to charge for items such as t-shirts, bags, and other identifying items that may not be purchased with program funds, State agencies should ensure that any fees are reasonable and do not restrict access by low-income children.
7. What is the Seamless Summer Option?
The Seamless Summer Option allows school food authorities to provide free summer meals in low-income areas during the traditional summer vacation periods and, for year-round schools, school vacation periods longer than 10 school days. The Seamless Summer Option is designed to encourage more school food authorities to provide meals during summer and other school vacation periods. This option combines features of the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Summer Food Service Program.
8. What organizations may participate in the Seamless Summer Option?
Only school food authorities administering the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program may participate in the Seamless Summer Option. However, with State agency approval, school food authorities may sponsor non-school feeding sites under Seamless Summer Option.
9. What eligibility requirements must a site meet in order to be eligible to participate as a meal service location sponsored by a school under the Seamless Summer Option?
Site eligibility requirements are the same as for Summer Food Service Program. Sites may be located in schools or at non-school facilities (buildings, parks or other outdoor locations, and mobile feeding sites).
10. How can summer schools participate in the Summer Food Service Program?
At schools where an accredited summer school is in session, sites participating in the Summer Food Service Program must be open to all children residing in the school attendance area served by the site; it may not be limited to the children enrolled in the summer school program. If the site is not open to the children of the community but provides meals only to enrolled summer school students, the site is not eligible to receive reimbursement for meals through Summer Food Service Program or the Seamless Summer Option.
The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program are available to any school that hosts an academic summer school where access to meal services is limited to children enrolled in the summer school program. For more information on how these options differ, see the program comparison chart at www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SFSP_SeamlessComparisonChart.pdf.
11. Can a school or site participating under the Seamless Summer Option as an open site serve meals at staggered times for community children and school children attending summer school?
Yes. However, the school or site must conduct the same meal service, meaning it is the same food served and has the same length of meal service.
12. Do schools operating the Seamless Summer Option have to follow the age/grade group requirements at open sites?
Schools operating open and restricted open sites having difficulty implementing the age grade/group requirement may work with their State agencies to make accommodations, which may include the use of a single age/grade group meeting the minimum meal pattern requirements for the most common age/grade group attending the site. This holds true for both school and non-school sites. All accommodations must possess a reasonable justification for the need to deviate from age/grade group requirement and be added as addendum to the agreement between the school and State agency. For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SFSP09-2014os.pdf.
13. Can afterschool programs participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program during the school year operate a summer meals site during the summer?
Yes. Organizations that serve meals or snacks to children only through the at-risk afterschool meals component of Child and Adult Care Food Program during the school year are generally eligible to serve meals to all children through age 18 under the Summer Food Service Program during the summer months. For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SP%2006_CACFP%2003_SFSP%2006-2014os.pdf.
14. Can meals be served to adults at Summer Meals sites?
Yes, but those meals are not eligible for reimbursement. Meals may be served to adults at sites at the discretion of the sponsor. However, adult meals must be treated differently from those served to children, who are the intended recipients of the Program’s benefits. For more information, see www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SP%2008_SFSP%2008-2014os.pdf.
15. What are the summer backpack and EBT demonstration projects?
Authorized under the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-80, 749(g)), the Summer Food for Children demonstration projects were initiated by the USDA to develop and test methods of providing access to nutritious meals for low-income children when school is not in session. The purpose of was to reduce or eliminate the food insecurity and hunger of children during the summer.
There are two components to the demonstration projects: The Enhanced Summer Food Service Program Demonstrations (eSFSP; also known as Summer Food Service Program Enhancement Demonstrations) tested changes to the existing structure and delivery mechanism to determine if they lead to increased participation, and the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration provides summer food benefits using the SNAP and WIC electronic benefit transfer technology as the delivery mechanism to give low-income families with children more resources to use at food stores during the summer. These demonstration projects are currently in the final stages of evaluation.
Did you know?
The USDA annually publishes handbooks which explain all administrative and operational requirements of the Summer Meals programs? Check them out!
- Administrative Guidance for Sponsors
- Monitor's Guide
- Nutrition Guidance for Sponsors
- Site Supervisor's Guide - English
- Site Supervisor's Guide - Spanish
The USDA summer meal programs are Federal programs administered at the State level.
If you are interested in participating, contact your State agency to learn about the next step your organization should take! Find your State agency’s contact information here: www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Contacts/StateDirectory.htm.