Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

SFSP Community Page

Last Modified: 07/19/2013

Community

SFSP serves meals at supervised sites near where children live in the community. A commitment by individuals and the community is needed to have a successful SFSP. Here are some ways you can help. 

Why is SFSP important to your community? 

You know that children who miss school breakfast and lunch are more likely to be sick, absent or tardy, disruptive in class, and inattentive. They also score lower on achievement tests. Good nutrition is essential for learning in school. SFSP provides an opportunity to continue a child's physical and social development while providing nutritious meals during long vacation periods from school. It helps children return to school ready to learn.

Who can sponsor SFSP?

Units of local government, camps, schools, and private nonprofit organizations can sponsor the SFSP. If your organization already provides services to the community, and has capable staff and good management practices to run a food service, you can sponsor the SFSP. As a sponsor, you will attend the State agency's training, locate eligible sites, hire, train and supervise staff, arrange for meals to be prepared and delivered, monitor sites and prepare claims for reimbursement.

Who is eligible to get free meals?

All children 18 years and younger who come to an approved site may receive meals. Sites must be located in low-income communities or must serve primarily low-income children. At camps, only the children who are eligible for free or reduced price meals may receive SFSP meals.

We're a smaller organization, what can we do?

Many organizations, particularly smaller ones, may want to consider operating a feeding site, such as a recreational or enrichment program. Many sponsors would welcome such an arrangement. If you supervise a site, you will attend your sponsor's training, supervise activities and the meal service, keep daily records of meals served, store food appropriately, and keep the site clean and sanitary. You should contact the State agency indicating your interest as a site, or find a local sponsor and make your own arrangements.

What can parents do?

First, locate a feeding site in your community where your children can receive summer meals. To find a feeding site, contact those organizations in your community that are offering an activities program. Organizations offering activity programs are often local schools, community centers, recreation centers, and faith-based organizations. If you are unable to find a feeding site in your area, please contact your State agency and ask them for the location to a feeding site in your community.

If there are no feeding sites in your community, you can mobilize your community to sponsor the program. In order for a feeding site to exist in your community, a school, nonprofit organization or local government agency must be the program sponsor and be responsible for the administration of the program. To begin mobilizing your community, contact the following people and groups, and tell them there is an interest in the community to feed children in the summer. Contact: 

  • The school principal 
  • Teachers 
  • The Parent Teachers Association 
  • The school food service manager 
  • School officials such as the school board or superintendent of schools 
  • The Mayor's office Recreation and Parks Office 
  • County officials
  • Elected officials

How can I find a feeding site in my area?

To find a feeding site in your area, contact those organizations in your community that are offering an activities program. Organizations offering activity programs are often local schools, community centers, recreation centers and faith based organizations. If you are unable to find a feeding site in your area, please contact your State agency and ask them for the location of the nearest feeding site.

I want to help, what else can I do?

Volunteer! Our best SFSP sites have organized, well-run activities that keep the interest of the children and teens coming back to the site day after day. Some of these activities include arts and crafts, tutoring, mentoring, drama, sports, computer training, music, gardening, reading programs, cooking or any other creative ideas you may have. Many sites have enlisted local fire and police departments, local celebrities, local businesses and local political figures to make presentations to their SFSP sites. The only limitation is your imagination.

How do I get started?

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, or don't know of a sponsor in your area, contact your State Agency for more information. Your State Agency can be found under Contacts.

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