Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals and snacks to low-income children 18 and under when school is not in session. When school lets out, millions of low-income children lose access to school breakfast, lunch, and afterschool meals that are available during the regular school year. SFSP fills this gap by providing free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise go hungry. Currently, the program is underutilized. Nationally, only one out of six children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year continues to receive meals during the summer months. FRAC has tracked and supported efforts to improve participation and to strengthen SFSP.

Benefits to Families

During the school year, thousands of children have access to free or reduced-price school meals. When school ends, so does this important resource. SFSP helps fill the nutritional gap.

Healthy Nutrition: Meals meet strict nutrition standards including a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. These nutritious meals provide an important resource to many families. 

Summer Activities: Children of working parents can face long days with little enrichment during the summer, and childcare or summer camps can be very expensive. Many SFSP meal sites also offer programming such as arts & crafts, music, and outdoor recreation. For some communities, these sites are the only supervised summer activities available to children and families with limited resources.

Benefits to Summer Youth Programs

Sustainable Funding: Because meals are reimbursed, summer programs can save thousands of dollars while feeding children and providing safe, enriching activities. Unlike most private grants or donations, funding is guaranteed year to year as part of a federal entitlement program.

Attracts Participants: Meals can act as a draw for more children, encouraging higher attendance to drop-in and structured programs, and can increase community awareness and support for programming.

Program Eligibility Requirements

Programs are operated by schools (public or private non-profit), government agencies, non-profits, faith-based organizations, public or private non-profit camps, universities or colleges. To offer an after school or a summer meal program Contact Us.

SFA Evaluation phase 3

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SFA Phase 4 Preliminary Evaluation Results