Sacramento, CA — Helping students get enough nutritious food during the summer recess will help them succeed in school in the fall, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who today urged eligible organizations to become sponsor meal sites under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
"California's young people need healthy meals and intellectual stimulation as much when school is out of session as they do during the regular school year," Torlakson said. "That's why I'm urging leaders at school, in the community, and other agencies to sign up to become summer meal sites to help keep kids well-nourished and ready to learn when they return."
The SFSP helps provide nutritious meals to children in geographic areas where at least 50 percent of students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals. The program works by reimbursing agencies that serve these meals to children 18 years and younger during school vacation. The SFSP operates when schools in a community are on vacation for at least 15 continuous school days or when year-round schools are off track. The program benefits all children in accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, and is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
Eligible sponsors may include schools, camps, Indian tribal governments, private nonprofit agencies, and municipal, state, county, or local government offices. Sponsors may prepare meals or obtain meals from another SFSP sponsor, public or commercial food vendor, or a school food service department. All meals must meet the USDA minimum meal pattern requirements. Eligible sponsors often provide summer activities for children to promote their summer feeding sites. All families have to do is show up at any open meal site and their hungry children will be fed, no questions asked, and no income verification is necessary.
Agencies interested in becoming SFSP sponsors must obtain training by California Department of Education (CDE) staff before their applications can be approved. Applications are due 45 days before beginning meal service and no later than May 15, 2014. Training sessions are available from early February through April. All commercial food service vendors are also invited to participate in the training sessions. The training will benefit food service vendors by providing information for meeting SFSP meal pattern and contract requirements.
To receive training information, learn how to access the online application, or learn how to become an SFSP sponsor or SFSP food vendor, visit CDE's Summer Food Service Program Information - Summer Food Service Web page.
For more information on running a successful summer program, visit the California Summer Meal Coalition [http://www.summermealcoalition.org/] website.
The CDE will update its interactive map of Summer Meal Service Sites - Food Programs in early summer to help families locate a summer meal site or summer sponsor close to their homes.
[The California Department of Education (CDE) is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov or by mobile device at http://m.cde.ca.gov/. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cadepted and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CAEducation.]