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Summer Food Service Program
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SFSP...Because Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation!

What is the SFSP?
What is the SFSP?
How does the SFSP operate?
How does the SFSP operate?
Who can be a SFSP Sponsr?
Who can be a SFSP sponsor?
Where does the SFSP operate?
Where does the SFSP operate?
Who is eligible to get  meals?
Who is eligible to get meals?
How many meals do participants receive each day?
How many meals do participants receive each day?
How much reimbursement does the government provide?
How much reimbursement does the government provide?
How long has the SFSP been in existence?
How long has the SFSP been in existence?
How much does the SFSP cost?
How much does the SFSP cost?


What is the SFSP?
Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition.  The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ) provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow, throughout the summer months when they are out of school.
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How does the SFSP operate?
The Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers SFSP at the Federal level.  State education agencies administer the program in most States. In some areas, the State health or social service department or an FNS regional office may be designated.

Locally, SFSP is run by approved sponsors, including school districts, local government agencies, camps, or private nonprofit organizations.   Sponsors provide free meals to a group of children at a central site, such as a school or a community center.  They receive payments from USDA, through their State agencies, for the meals they serve to children at eligible sites.
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Who can be a SFSP sponsor?
Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to become a sponsor and receive reimbursement for food service to enhance their education or recreation program. Applications are due May 1 of each year. Click this link for additional information for new sponsors.

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Where does the SFSP operate?
States approve SFSP meal sites as open, enrolled, or camp sites.   Open sites operate in low-income areas where at least half of the children come from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty level, making them eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. Meals are served free to any child at the open site.  Enrolled sites provide free meals to children enrolled in an activity program at the site where at least half of them are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.  Camps may also participate in SFSP.  They receive payments only for the meals served to children who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
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Who is eligible to get meals?
Children 18 and younger may receive free meals and snacks through SFSP.  Meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities, over age 18, who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.
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How many meals do participants receive each day?
 
At most sites, children receive either one or two reimbursable meals each day.  Camps and sites that primarily serve migrant children may be approved to serve up to three meals to each child, each day.
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How much reimbursement does the government provide?
View current reimbursement rates
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How long has the SFSP been in existence?
 
SFSP was first created as part of a larger pilot program in 1968. It became a separate program in 1975.  By 1980, 1.9 million children were participating.   Participation dropped to 1.5 million in 1985, and grew to 1.7 million again by 1990.  More than 2.1 million children participated at more than 32,700 sites in the summer of 2008.
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How much does the SFSP cost?
 
Congress appropriated $357.9 million for the program in 2008.  By comparison, the program cost $267.2 million in 2000; $163.3 million in 1990; $110.1 million in 1980; and $1.8 million in 1970.
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