Summer Food is Here!

DSC_0125

FOOD for Lane County’s Summer Food Program starts serving meals to kids on June 27. Find out more, and where meals will be served, here. Or call us at 541-343-2822.
Here’s some info about the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which funds our program:
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals and snacks to low-income children 18 and under when school is not in session. When school lets out, millions of low-income children lose access to school breakfast,lunch, and afterschool meals that are available during the regular school year.SFSP fills this gap by providing free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise go hungry. Currently, the program is underutilized. Nationally, onlyone out of six children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year continues to receive meals during the summer months. FRAC has tracked and supported efforts to improve participation and to strengthen SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program Summer Food Today
• Nationally, 3.2 million children participated in SFSP on an average day in July 2014.

• Local governments, school districts, and nonprofits can sponsor summer food sites, which may be located at schools, parks, recreation centers, housing projects, migrant centers, Indian reservations, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, houses of worship, summer camps, and other places where children congregate when school is out.

• A site qualifies either as an open or an enrolled site. An open site is located in a low-income area where 50 percent or more of all of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The site is then open to all of the children in the community (open restricted sites are open sites that limit or restrict participation for reasons of safety, security, or control). An enrolled site only provides meals to children enrolled in the program. An enrolled site qualifies if it is located in a low-income area or if at least half of the children enrolled in the program are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Summer Meals Benefit Low-Income Children and Families
• SFSP contributes to the healthy growth and development of low-income children by providing them with nutritious snacks and meals, often alongside recreational activities, to help address growing evidence of the risk of children gaining weight over the summer months. Reimbursable summer meals must meet federal nutrition standards and can provide an opportunity for children to access fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support a healthy diet.

• Many SFSP sites also provide educational and enrichment activities in addition to meals, which enables children to learn and stay safe when school is out, mitigating the harmful effects of summer learning loss and ensuring that children are better able to learn when they return to school.

• The meals served through SFSP draw children to the activities offered at sites and maintain their pa ticipation in a structured summer learning program.

• Summer meals help parents stretch their food dollars at home during the summer months. Food budgets often increase due to the lack of access to school meals, but summer meal programs can also help mitigate child care costs due to the programming offered.

It Pays to Serve Summer Meals
• The SFSP reimbursements provide essential financial support to programs that serve low-income children when school is not in session.

• For summer 2016, SFSP sponsors received $2.09 for each breakfast served, $3.69 per lunch or supper, and $0.87 per snack. Sponsors located in rural areas or those that prepare their own meals on-site receive a higher reimbursement — $2.13 per breakfast, $3.15 per lunch or supper, and $0.89 per snack. Lunch and supper cannot be reimbursed for the same day by the same site, except for camp and migrant sites.

• Summer nutrition funding can add up. For example, a summer program serving breakfast and lunch up to 50 children for eight weeks (or a 40-day program) would receive approximately $11,560 in federal funding through SFSP or $11,760 if located in a rural area or self-prep site. By decreasing the costs per meal as the number of meals being served increases, a sponsor can maximize the total amount they can receive in federal funding to help support their overall program.

• Programs that have been providing meals and snacks, but have not received federal funding through SFSP, can be reimbursed and use the money previously spent on food to serve additional children, offer more activities or hire additional staff. Lunch and supper cannot be reimbursed for the same day by the same site, except for camp and migrant sites.

• School Food Authorities already participating in the School Breakfast Program, or the National School Lunch Program, and sponsors of the CACFP Afterschool Meal Program, can use the federal reimbursement funding from any other child nutrition program to support their operation of summer meals and vice versa.

USDA Guidance Makes the Program Easier to Operate

• States can create a simplified SFSP application and training process for afterschool programs that already participate in the CACFP Afterschool Meal Program, and for School Food Authorities that already participate in the School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program.

• Sponsors sign a permanent agreement with the state SFSP agency or an addendum to their existing agreement if they are already sponsoring the CACFP Afterschool Meal Program.

• Private nonprofit sponsors can operate under the same rules as all other sponsors — there is no longer a cap on the number of sites or children served and sites do not have to be otherwise affiliated with the sponsor.

• Sponsors can now use eligibility for reduced-price and free meals data from any month of the previous school year to qualify sites, in addition to annually updated census data — the American Community Survey.

• Sponsors are no longer required to keep records and accounts separate from administrative and operating costs. Instead, sponsors simply follow a “meals times rates” formula that allows them to claim the maximum reimbursement. This change in accounting procedures dramatically reduces the paperwork involved in operating SFSP.

Get Started
• Summer meals provide nutritious food to hungry children when school is out. To get started, contact the state child nutrition agency at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/school-meals-contacts.

• The state agency can provide potential sponsors with more information about the program, an application, and inform when the next SFSP training takes place. FRAC Resources Available at frac.org

• FRAC’s Summer Nutrition Program Implementation Calendar and Guide was created to encourage year-round planning for summer meals for both sponsors and community partners.

• FRAC’s Standards of Excellence–Summer Programs can be used to evaluate existing summer meal programs in your community, recognizing high quality programs and identifying areas for improvement.

• FRAC’s Summer Food Target Mapper is accepted by all state agencies to qualify summer meal sites.