Families and Children
What is the Summer Food Service Program?
Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child's need for good nutrition. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow, throughout the summer months when they are out of school.
Who is eligible to receive meals?
Children 18 and younger may receive free meals and snacks through SFSP. Meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities, over age 18, who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.
Is there a cost for meals?
No. Meals are provided at no cost to the children served.
How many meals do participants receive each day?
At most sites, children receive either one or two meals each day.
What kind of food is served?
SFSP meals are prepared based on USDA Nutrition Standards. Meal options vary by location. Contact the SFSP site near you for specific menu items.
How can I find a site in my community?
To find a meal service site near where you live, contact organizations in your community that are offering an activity program. Organizations offering activities for children are often local schools, community centers, recreation centers, and faith-based organizations. As summer approaches local SFSP often announce the availability of meals, which may be covered by your local news . Information may also be found from the following resources:
USDA-FNS website - http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks
Text Summer Meals to 97779 or call 1-866-348-6479 to find a site near you.
What can I do if there are no nearby sites feeding children?
If there are no meal service sites in your area, you can mobilize your community to sponsor the program for the next summer. In order for a site to exist in your community, a school, nonprofit organization or local government agency must be the program sponsor and be responsible for the administration of the program. To begin mobilizing your community, contact the following people and groups, and tell them there is an interest in the community to feed children in the summer. Contact:
The school principal
The Parent Teachers Association
The school food service manager
School officials such as the school board or superintendent of schools
The Mayor's office Recreation and Parks Office County officials
I want to help, what else can I do?
Volunteer! The best SFSP sites have organized, well-run activities that keep the interest of the children and teens coming back to the site day after day. Some of these activities include arts and crafts, tutoring, mentoring, drama, sports, computer training, music, gardening, reading programs, cooking or any other creative ideas you may have. Many sites have enlisted local fire and police departments, local celebrities, local businesses and local political figures to make presentations to their SFSP sites. The only limitation is your imagination.
Additional Resources for Families:
What's Cooking - https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2015/02/23/whats-cooking-usda-mixing-bowl-collection-recipes-schools-and-child-care
Choose My Plate - http://www.choosemyplate.gov
Choose My Plate Budget - http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget
Healthier Tennessee Small Starts for Families - http://healthiertn.com/small-starts-families