Department of Human Services Hosts Third Annual Summer Summit

Monday, February 01, 2016 | 03:31pm

DHS brings together USDA representatives, experienced program sponsors and community thought leaders to address endeavors to reduce child hunger

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) recently hosted its third annual Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Summer Summit at returning sponsor, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee’s, Nashville location. The summit is one of many ways the department is continuing its No Tennessee Child Should Go Hungry initiative.

The 2016 SFSP Summer Summit focused on the importance of partnerships and collaboration to increase the number of children reached through the program. Attendees included DHS staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) and Rural Development staff, past program sponsors, local representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Tennessee Library Association, and Southeastern University Consortium on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition as well as other state, local, and community partners.

“SFSP sponsors play an integral role in reaching and providing meals to Tennessee children. We appreciate or sponsors and recently honored five with excellence awards as a lead in to a successful 2016 summer,” said DHS Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter. “We encourage more Tennesseans with a desire to strengthen our communities to take action – sign up to be a sponsor, sign up to be a site, volunteer to help. Every effort helps ensure no Tennessee child goes hungry.

In Tennessee, one in four children faces hunger daily. Last summer the SFSP served approximately 4.3 million meals to children across TN. However, the need to feed more children during the summer months continues. Community partners and sponsors play an integral role in reaching children where they are. Sessions like the 2016 SFSP Summer Summit allow opportunities for all involved to learn, collaborate and brainstorm ways to increase the program’s reach and add their strength.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program intended to ensure that children who benefit from free and reduced price meals during the school year, have access to nutritious meals during the summer months.

Children age 18 and under are eligible to receive meals through the SFSP.  In addition, a person 19 years of age and older who has a mental or physical disability and  participates during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program established for individuals with disabilities, is also eligible to receive meals.

The program is available to eligible sponsors that might include public schools, private non-profit organizations, government entities, and non-profit residential camps.  Sponsors are reimbursed on a per meal basis for meals served to eligible children and may sponsor the SFSP at one or more sites. 

The criteria for sponsorship are simple and straightforward, as outlined in the USDA Administrative Guidance for Sponsors Manual. Sponsoring organizations serve meals to all children in attendance regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

If your organization is interested in sponsoring the SFSP in your community, or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor, please contact the Department of Human Services by e-mail    

To add your strength to the effort to end hunger, send an email to  Join the call to action for Tennesseans to fight hunger in their local communities by donating, volunteering, raising awareness and other activities that support the end of hunger.

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, please visit:  or

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.  Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1)  mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture  Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider.