The USDA is hosting a webinar highlighting the Summer Food Service Program to help end summertime hunger for children and teenagers. Millions of children and teenagers rely on free or reduced-cost school lunches during the school year, but during the summer, these students are at increased risk of going hungry because they no longer have access to the free and reduced-price meals they received while they were in school. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to cover the summer meal gap by providing nutritious meals to students when school is not in session. Free meals that meet Federal nutrition guidelines are provided to all children 18 years old and younger at approved SFSP sites in areas of significant concentrations of low-income children. Most sites provide one or two meals each day, while places serving migrant children may serve up to three meals per child, each day.
State approve SFSP meal sites as open, enrolled, or camp sites:
- Open – These sites are operated in low-income areas where at least half of the children come from families with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level, making them eligible for free and reduced-cost school meals. Meals are served free to any child.
- Enrollment – Enrollment sites provide free meals to children enrolled in an activity program at the site. At least half of the children enrolled at the site must eligible for free and reduced-cost meals.
- Camp – These sites receive payments only for meals served to children who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
Though this program is intended to help the majority of children that receive free or reduced-cost school lunches, only 16 percent of eligible kids are participating. Want to learn more about how kids in your community can benefit from SFSP? As part of their webinar series, the USDA will be hosting a webinar, Make your Summer Meals Site the Talk of the Town, to learn how to get more involved. The webinar will be hosted on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST. To register for the webinar, click here.