Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Monday, January 30, 2012
By Allyson Hagen

Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Helena, MT—The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2012 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.

Through the 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.   

"For a significant number of Montana families, summer is an especially difficult time of year. During the summer, children from low-income families do not have access to school breakfast or lunch, and their families may have a hard time putting enough nutritious food on the table. In these situations, Summer Food Service Programs can fill a critical nutrition gap," says Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

One in 10 people in Montana live in households where there is not always enough food. With more than 85,000 children living in such households, hunger is a real issue for Montana families.  Participation in the Summer Food Service Program grew in 2011 by more than 5 percent. 

"In Montana, only 16 out of every 100 kids who receive free or reduced price school meals also eat free SFSP meals during the summer," stated Juneau.  "Many families do not know where the free summer meals for children are served. That’s why outreach and awareness are so important."

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, by phone at (406) 444-2521 or (406) 444-2501 or online at: http://www.opi.mt.gov/Programs/SchoolPrograms/School_Nutrition/index.html.

The deadline for new sponsors to apply for the SFSP is May 18, 2012.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from 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 (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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