Summer Food Service Program

Summer Food, Summer Moves

Enjoy this resource kit to get kids and families eating healthy and being physically active during the summer. The kit includes an operator activity guide and printable posters and flyers. Music, games, art and movement are all used to encourage eating fruits and veggies, choosing water and limiting screen time. Access the resource kit here: Summer Food, Summer Moves

Children need good food all year long, even when they’re not in school. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides healthy meals to children, age 18 and younger, free of charge.

The Summer Food Service Program:

  • feeds low income children in the summer
  • gives a boost to public and private nonprofit summer programs
  • helps give low income children the best start on the new school year

With summer meals, children get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow during vacation when they do not eat at school. Sponsors of the SFSP receive funds that support programs serving low income children when there is no school.

Many SFSP sites provide not just meals, but educational, enrichment and recreational activities that help children continue to learn and stay safe when school is not in session. Summer meals act as an extra magnet to draw children to activities – and activities draw children to meals – at places like:

  • schools
  • camps
  • boys and girls clubs
  • kids cafes
  • park and recreation centers
  • vacation bible schools
  • libraries
  • community pools
  • congregations
  • YMCAs
  • Head Start centers
  • hospitals
  • 21st century learning centers
  • National Youth Sports programs at colleges and universities
  • Upward Bound programs
  • 4-H Clubs
  • community action agencies
  • food banks
  • homeless shelters

Even if you think your staff, time and resources are stretched too thin, your organization can still participate in the SFSP. Some organizations may not be able to sponsor the program, but they can supervise meals, recreation and enrichment activities for children at a site Signup up as a food service site means nutritious, prepared meals will be delivered to your location with less paperwork for you.

As a sponsored site, you will have an arrangement with another organization that is approved to administer the program. The sponsor will have staff and management experience to help you learn how to run your food service site successfully. Your sponsor will determine if your site is eligible, train your staff, arrange for meals to be prepared or delivered, monitor your site and prepare claims for reimbursement. If you operate a summer food service site, you will:

  • attend your sponsor’s training
  • supervise activities and meal services at your site
  • distribute meals by following SFSP guidelines
  • keep daily records of meals served
  • store food appropriately
  • keep the site clean and sanitary
  • follow SFSP guidelines

The SFSP serves meals with milk, meat, fruits, vegetables and bread. Meals have all the good things that children need to grow up strong and healthy.

All meals and snacks meet USDA’s nutrition standards.

Children might get breakfast, lunch supper or snack, depending on what your site serves.

Most food service sites can provide up to two meals – either a breakfast and lunch or breakfast and supper – or one meal and a snack.

Find answers to more Frequently Asked Questions about SFSP on the USDA website.

For more information contact Nutrition Services at (800) 731-2233.

Additional SFSP information is available on the USDA website.

Updated July 12, 2021 8:23am