The Child Nutrition Act of 1973 established the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This ensures that children up to 18 years of age can continue to receive, during the school break, a high-quality food service, similar to that offered during the regular school year. By receiving these services, parents save money on the purchase of food for their children’s breakfast and lunch during the summer vacation. In turn, participants benefit from getting the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and play during the summer months when they are out of school.
7 CFR 225
Who can apply?
Leaders, entities, or organizations have two options to offer the services:
- Sponsor – the entity receives federal funds through reimbursement.
- Public or private School Food Authorities, state and municipal government agencies, summer camps, private non-profit, community, or faith-based organizations may sponsor the program. Entities that have adequate facilities for preparing food can receive the necessary budget for the operation of the program. It can be used to buy food, pay the kitchen staff’s salary, among others.
- The entity must meet the following requirements:
- demonstrate financial capacity
- have or hire trained personnel to operate and supervise the Program
- offer some type of non-profit community service during the year
- Have a Certificate of Incorporation as a non-profit and a current Tax Exemption status, among others
- Disseminate, through any means of communication, that the services offered by the Program are free to everyone up to 18 years of age.
- Leaders, entities, or organizations that do not have facilities to prepare their own food can request the meals from an Independent Sponsor participating in the Program.
- Identify a safe place where participants may eat meals.
- Complete an application.
- Offer food to children and youth up to 18 years of age or to persons with disabilities grouped in an institution recognized by the state.
- Announce the Program to the community, including the public policy of the Civil Rights Act.
How many services can sponsors offer during the summer?
- Open sites available for children in the community can offer up to two daily services, (one can be lunch; the other can be breakfast, snack, or dinner)
- Enclosed sites, camps, or residential services can serve up to three (3) meals daily; breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.
What assistance can the State Agency offer sponsors of the Summer Food Service Program?
- Administrative and operational advances
- Donated federal food
- Training and technical assistance to operate the program
Children and youth can receive meals in the following ways:
- Traditional Service – In a designated dining room.
- Satellite Service – The leader coordinates to collect and transport the food properly and serve it in the authorized place.
- Walk-In Service to Children – Children who are not enrolled in a summer activity may attend the closest operating school, coordinate with the cafeteria manager, and receive up to two meals.
- Truck service – The sponsor takes the packaged food to an authorized site (park, beaches, courts, among others), delivers it to a leader, and the leader distributes it to the children.