Juneau Announces Summer Food Service Program
Monday, February 1, 2010
By Jessica Rhoades
Denise Juneau Announces Summer Food Service Program
Urges Schools, Government Agencies, Nonprofit Groups to Apply
(HELENA) - The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2010 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) from public or nonpublic nonprofit school food authorities; all local, county, municipal, or state governmental entities; migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; and residential camps interested and eligible in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.
Meals are served to children who might otherwise go hungry and are often provided in conjunction with educational and recreational activities. "There is a real need for children to have access to healthy meals during the summer," said State Superintendent Denise Juneau. "Children can access summer meal sites at schools, summer programs, parks, swimming pools, churches, apartment complexes and other locations in the community."
The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children, 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service administers the SFSP at the national level and the OPI administers it at the state level.
About 7,000 Montana children a day will receive free meals through the program, which will operate this summer throughout Montana in June, July, and August.
“Unfortunately, too many children miss out on using this important program because their families don’t know about it,” said Juneau. “If there are summer food sites in your area, you can make sure that children don’t miss out on healthy food when school is out by informing children and families about the program.”
Sponsors must verify that the site where they plan to serve meals is located in an area where at least half the resident children are from households with incomes at or below the eligibility level for free or reduced price school meals. In most instances, current year school data provides the most accurate economic status of a particular community. Potential and existing sponsors can request data from the schools or from the OPI to determine eligible program sites.
Sponsors may obtain SFSP applications and additional information by contacting the OPI, School Nutrition Programs, at PO Box 202501, Helena MT 59620 or telephone (406) 444-2521 or (406) 444-2501. The deadline for new sponsors to apply for the SFSP is May 21, 2010.
All sponsors must agree to serve meals to any eligible child in accordance with Federal Law and USDA policy, prohibiting discriminating on the basis of race color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call, toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). TDD users can contact USDA through local relay or the Federal relay at (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (relay voice users). The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.