Many schools and recreation programs are not aware that federal funds are available to provide snacks and meals free to children in needy areas during the summer. The SFSP is the single largest federal resource available for local sponsors who want to combine a feeding program with a summer recreation program. Sponsors receive payment for serving healthy meals and snacks to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger, at approved sites in low-income areas. Schools, public agencies and private non-profit organizations may apply to sponsor the program.
The SFSP was created to ensure that children in low-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during the long summer breaks when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. While an average of 100,000 children across the state depend on nutritious free and reduced-price meals and snacks at school, only about 14,000 receive the free meals provided by the SFSP during the summer months.
The program encourages communities to provide safe places for children to go and be with other children and supportive adults. Parents can rest assured that their child is receiving healthy meals in a safe and supportive environment. Further, the program draws children into supervised activities that are safe, fun and filled with learning opportunities. They benefit nutritionally by receiving complete, wholesome meals and parents benefit from some help in stretching their food dollars.
For more information about the SFSP, contact Gloria Cunningham, coordinator with the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition, at (304) 558-2708, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the USDA website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/.