While the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program help families out during the school year, food insecurity rises dramatically once school’s out. Funded by the USDA, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps make meals more accessible to children under the age of 18 years old over the summer months.
In 2012, SFSP helped more than 2.3 million children were served daily at over 38,000 sites.Since hunger is one of the largest roadblocks in the learning process, good nutrition is important all year round. By providing food to eligible children, the chance of illness decreases.
As an amendment to the National School Lunch Act, the SFSP has been making strides since 1968.There are 3 main entities involved: state agencies, sponsors and sites. State agencies are in charge of running the program and are a liaison with the USDA. Sponsors communicate with the state agencies, local government and other nonprofit organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program. Sponsors can be public or private, with the government reimbursing sponsors for the food at a set rate.
Lastly, sites are the physical places in the community where children will receive meals. Sites can include churches, migrant churches, parks, community centers and/or schools.
To find out where your closest SFSP is, you can call the National Hunger Hotline at 1866HUNGRY or 18778HAMBRE to find the closest meal site near you.