Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Allyson Hagen

Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Helena, MT - The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2013 Summer Food Service Program from public and private nonprofit schools as well as local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations that are interested in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

Says Superintendent Denise Juneau, "For many Montana families, summer is a 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. The Summer Food Service Program can fill a critical nutrition gap."  

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. 

"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," notes Minkie Medora, MS, RD, with the MFBN Food Security Council.  "In our surveys around the state, we have found that many families do not know where the free summer meals for children are served.  That’s why outreach and awareness are so important."

The Summer Food Program provides federal funding to eligible sponsors to provide healthy meals and snacks to low-income children during the summer.  For schools, summer programs have an added benefit since they combat “summer learning loss” by providing educational and enrichment activities.

Summer food sites such as schools, community centers, parks or camps provide nutritious meals to children. To qualify as a site, the facility must be located in a low-income neighborhood (at least 50 percent or more of the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price meals) or must serve primarily low-income children (at least 50 percent of the children must be eligible for free or reduced-price meals). Summer camps and sites serving primarily migrant children also can participate, but under slightly different rules.

Sponsors can get Summer Food Service Program applications and information by contacting the OPI, School Nutrition Programs, at P.O. 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 17, 2013.

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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