State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that applications are
available for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), both federally funded, state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is out of session.
“Food insecurity impacts families throughout the state. When schools are out of session, our most economically disadvantaged students are not only missing academic instruction, they are also missing meals,” said Thurmond. “Access to nutritious and healthy food during the summer months helps students return to school ready to engage and ready to learn.”
According to the California Association of Food Banks, 85 percent of children who benefit from the federally funded free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss similar lunch programs available during the summer. Every summer, 17 of 20 low-income students fall into the summer nutrition gap.
“Last year, the Summer Meals Program served over 15 million meals,” said Thurmond. “That would not have been possible if we didn’t have organizations willing to participate and help spread the word about the program within the communities they serve.”
Summer meal sites are located in communities where at least 50 percent of the children quality for free or reduced-price school meals. All meals meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition requirements, and no paperwork or personal information is required for children to participate.
Organizations eligible to participate in Summer Meal Programs include schools, camps, nonprofits, tribal governments, and government agencies. Applications are due by June 1, 2019.
For more information about Summer Meal Programs, visit the California Department of Education Summer Meal Programs web page. If your agency is interested in becoming a sponsor or hosting a meal site, contact the Summer Meals Unit at 1-800-952-5609 firstname.lastname@example.org. If your organization is not able to provide meal services, please consider promoting Summer Meal Sites in your community. You can locate meal sites on the Summer Meal Service Site web page.