Think Warm! Participate in the Summer Food Service Program

Given that many parts of the country are still snowy and frigid, we hope to warm you up a little by thinking about participating in Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP)! The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children can continue to have access to nutritious meals when school is not in session.

The USDA notes that approximately 21 million children rely on free and reduced-priced lunches throughout the school year, but many go hungry during the summer months. The SFSP addresses this need. Does your district or department participate? Let’s review considerations for getting started, if you’re not already participating in the program!

Getting Started with the Summer Food Service Program

State agencies, sponsors and site organizers are key players in the SFSP. Agencies administer the program. Sponsors team up with agencies to run the program; schools, camps, non-profit community organizations or other contacts that have the ability to manage a foodservice program serve as sponsors. Sponsors are indeed eligible for reimbursement. Safe sites are then sourced for children to receive their meals.

Ready to take part and provide a wonderful service for your students by participating in the SFSP?

Considerations for Participating in the Summer Food Service Program

Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. First, contact your state agency to see if you can become involved in hosting a SFSP for your district, either as a sponsor organization or a site that serves summer meals. Your state agency will provide support and will let you know whether you are located in an eligible area. Agencies can also connect sponsors with site contacts.
  2. Once you are approved and on your way to organizing, sponsoring or hosting a site, you’ll need support in planning and procurement. My K12 Resource can help fulfill your planning needs; allow us to strategize with you so as to make your efforts and participation in SFSP a success! We’ll help you with timelines, forecasting, ordering and more.
  3. Promote your site! Be sure to inform your community, students and their families that you are offering this service in their neighborhood. Consider getting the word out via your school materials, newsletters and more. You can produce a free public service announcement to be played for free on your local radio station, too!

The USDA offers countless resources for the SFSP; another handy one is their toolkit, containing more information on getting started, information on providing nutritious meals, promoting your site and more. Their best practices webpage is also handy. Learn from others who have implemented such programs in their own communities. See what has worked best for them in terms of student involvement and engagement.

What questions do you have about getting a Summer Food Service Program started? Let us know how we can help facilitate your vision and goals! Send us a quick email to learn more.