Summer Meals Add Value to Summer Enrichment
Could summer meals fortify your summer enrichment program?
How the Summer Food Service Program works:
The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operates anytime when school is not in session during the summer months. It is designed to allow school districts, local governments, and nonprofits to serve low-income kids and teens free meals when they do not have access to the nutrition school meals provide. Using federal reimbursement to cover food and related costs prevents the use of operating funds or the need to charge fees to pay for food.
How it helps:
Students need access to good nutrition year-round to propel their learning. The SFSP not only reduces child hunger, but can also augment summer programs and activities by offering a free nutrition component for your summer program attendees.
Last summer there were 335 sponsors across New York State serving meals at over 2,900 sites. On an average July day, about 293,000 kids ate lunch at a summer meals site, compared to nearly 1.1 million low income students eating a healthy school lunch during the school year. If children and teenagers in your school district need access to nutritious meals over the summer, consider becoming involved with summer meals.
Sites are locations where meals are served. Sponsors can operate multiple sites, and many often do. Sites are held at a variety of locations throughout the community. Eligible locations in communities are determined through Census income or school data.
How you can help end summer hunger:
- Partner with a sponsor: Help raise community awareness of existing summer meals sites through your website and social media channels; bring enrichment activities to sites to complement meal/snack times; volunteer to deliver/serve; and more.
- Become a meal site: Welcome kids at your location and serve meals/snacks. All sites are connected to and trained by a supervising sponsor. Examples of under-tapped sites include housing communities, libraries, farmers markets, medical centers, summer recreation programs and museums. Examples of tried and true sites include schools, faith-based organizations, public pools, parks, and camps.
Now is the time to plan to bring more summer meals to your area. Click on the mapper below to compare your location with last summer’s sites and potential partners. Scroll down below the mapper to find linked resources to help your community’s efforts.
To Use the Map:
1. Click Find Address or Place in the search bar at the top of the map
2. Enter an address, city, county, state, and/or zip code
3. Click on the Layers button
4. Click “FY16 Census Area Eligibility CACFP SFSP SSO” to determine the nearby eligible areas
5. Click any other locations of interest in the layers list
6. Click on any layering icon for more information
This map is created and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A full-screen version is available here.
Summer Meals Facts:
- Places and meals are state-approved for health and safety.
- Kids and teens ages 18 and under (and young adults with disabilities under 21) eat at no cost.
- Many places offer fun enrichment and learning activities.
- Places may choose when they decide to be a site to welcome any child who arrives during meal/snack service or provide meals/snacks only to youth enrolled in their summer program.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the New York State Education Department partner to bring meals to communities across the state.
- All meals served meet USDA federal nutrition guidelines.
- USDA reimburses local sponsors for summer meals served.
Are you interested in bringing summer meals to your community or summer enrichment program? Click on any of the resource links below for more information.