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Summer Food Service Program Helps Communities Bounce Back From the Pandemic

Tennessee is seeking program sponsors to support their communities by feeding children
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 03:42pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is providing another resource to help communities bounce back from the pandemic with the launch of this year’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The goal of the Summer Food Service Program is to ensure children 18 and younger, who benefit from meal programs at school, continue to have that same access to nutritious meals outside of school.

Each year TDHS partners with sponsors across the state to provide these meals. The program traditionally runs from the end of May to August when the next school semester begins. This year sponsors will be able to begin serving meals as soon as they’re approved, and they’ll have the flexibility to provide “grab and go” meals to children along with meal bags containing more than one day’s worth of food through the end of June.

Organizations, governmental institutions, schools, and religious entities interested in learning more about becoming SFSP sponsors are encouraged to register online for this year’s virtual Summer Summit to be held January 27, 2021.

“We have forged strong working relationships with our Summer Food Service Program sponsors over the years and those relationships have been even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter. “This program provides supports to strengthen families and grow their capacity to bounce back from the challenges of the last year.”

This need is especially important in rural counties in Tennessee and those designated as distressed. TDHS is hoping to recruit sponsors willing to serve those counties and additional sponsors for every county in the state to help their communities during this time.

In addition to children of school age, adults 19 and older with a mental or physical disability are eligible to receive free meals if they participate in a school program established for individuals with disabilities during the prior school year.

Applications will be accepted until May 1, 2021. If your organization is interested in becoming a SFSP sponsor or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor, please contact the TDHS by e- mail at TNSFSP.DHS@tn.gov. For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, please visit the TDHS website.

In accordance with Tennessee and 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, disability, age, 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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Parents interested in finding a Summer Food Service Program feeding location close to them are encouraged contact the TDHS Summer Food Service Program main line at 615-313-4749 or contact their local school.

In addition to children of school age, adults 19 and older with a mental or physical disability are eligible to receive free meals if they participate in a school program established for individuals with disabilities during the prior school year.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

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