The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals and snacks to children and teens ages 18 and under when school is not in session.
Summer Food Service Program
Children who eat healthy during summer remember more of what they learned in school and are better prepared when they go back in the fall.
Summer meal sites include schools, parks, churches, public pools, community centers, camps, housing communities, libraries, YMCAs, farmers’ markets, medical centers, summer recreation programs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and museums.
Promote & Grow Summer Meals
You can help increase the number of children eating summer meals by promoting summer meal sites, recruiting new sites in underserved areas, and supporting local sponsors and sites already operating in your area.
Visit our Summer Meals Outreach Resources page where you can find tools to:
- Promote summer meals to families in your community using our outreach flyers, sample social media posts, and more.
- Help summer meals grow by recruiting more sites using our flyers.
You can also connect with local sponsors and sites to learn how to best support their efforts. Community partners may be able to volunteer at sites, provide fun activities for kids, or help in other ways. Use these tools to find sponsors and sites in your area:
Become a Summer Meals Site
Sites are connected to and trained by a local supervising sponsoring organization that provides the meals. Most sites are “open” sites, meaning there is no enrollment process for children or families; any child or teenager can drop in during meal or snack service times. Other types of sites include day camp and residential camp sites, which serve children enrolled in their care.
Criteria for approval include:
1. Location eligibility (waived for summer 2021):
Ordinarily, summer meals can be served in locations or at programs where at least half of children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This can be determined using:
- Census data, available in the USDA Capacity Builder Mapper below, or
- Area eligible school data
This requirement is waived for summer 2021. Sites can be approved to operate in all areas, not just eligible locations.
2. Ability to follow basic eligibility requirements:
- Serve meals provided by the sponsor to children ages 18 and under
- Maintain safe and sanitary conditions
- Ensure children eat all meals on site
- Note: This requirement is waived for summer 2021; sponsors and sites can opt to serve grab-and-go or delivered meals, rather than having all children eat meals on site.
- Attend the sponsor’s training session, ensure all site staff attend a training session, and have an adequate number of trained staff present during meal service
- Other requirements outlined in each sponsor agreement
Use the USDA Capacity Builder Mapper to help you:
- Check site eligibility
- Locate potential partners
- Find and compare summer meals sites from the current and previous summer
- Identify community resources
To use the map:
- Click “Find Address or Place” in the search bar at the top
- Enter an address, city, county, state, and/or zip code
- Click on the “Layers” button
- Click “Summer Meal Sites 2020” to see last year’s site locations.
- Click “FY21 FNS CACFP and SFSP Eligibility” to see which areas meet the usual area eligibility requirement for summer meals (note: this requirement is waived for summer 2021; sites may operate in all areas). Areas highlighted pink are eligible based on Census data. More locations may be eligible based on school data; contact us to learn more.
- Click any other locations of interest in the layers list
- Click on any layering icon for more information
We can help
We can provide you with resources, data, and best-practices to improve participation in the Summer Food Service Program. We provide tailored one-on-one assistance to schools, community organizations and other youth services providers to maximize access to summer meals. We can:
- Help coordinate sites and sponsors in local communities
- Provide local and state-level data about SFSP
- Help you promote awareness of summer meals sites in your area and across NYS.
Contact Krista Hesdorfer, Child Nutrition Programs Specialist, for assistance.
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