Sudden unemployment, furloughs, reduced pay and business closures due to COVID-19 have left many families wondering how they will pay for housing, groceries and everyday necessities. Our client schools and nonprofits have stepped up to ease families’ anxiety by meeting kids’ nutritional needs. We are so proud to stand behind you!
State and federal officials have warned social distancing guidelines will remain for some time. It will take months for the economy and jobs to be fully restored. Food insecurity will continue to grow.
Kids will continue to need regular meals through the summer. Providing summer meals is a TRIPLE WIN for your school and your students:
WIN! Students stay connected to your school. This is vitally important for kids’ emotional and physical development as well as your school’s enrollment.
WIN! You can help address growing food insecurity and hardships due to loss of jobs and small businesses.
WIN! The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement rates are higher than National School Lunch Program meals provided during the school year or through the NSLP’s Seamless Summer Option. Increased reimbursement rates can bolster your food service budget.
If you did not participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in last summer, complete MDE’s Interest Survey today to notify MDE that you want to participate this year. Please also email Steve of your intent to offer summer meals.
MDE recently issued guidance on transitioning from meals served during the school year to summer meals. The following Q&A will help you close out the school year and move into the SFSP.
We will provide additional updates as MDE receives further guidance from the USDA. Please contact us if you have any questions (651.453.1136).
Can we offer SFSP non-congregant meals through the end of the school year?
When is the last day of school under the 2019-2020 year?
June 10. If your school year does not end until after June 10, 2020, please contact MDE.FNS@state.mn.us to request the date be changed to reflect your school year.
Do I need to do anything in CLiCs or contact MDE to continue to offer meals through the end of academic school year?
If your last day of school is June 10, 2020 or prior, no.
How should we submit our June meals for reimbursement?
If your site serves meals into June, combine your June days served and meal counts with May and submit the two months together. You should only submit meals through June 10 or your last day of school with your May totals. If you continue to serve meals into the summer under the SFSP, the meal counts after your last day of school should be submitted separately.
If we’re currently serving meals under the non-congregant-feeding waiver and want to continue to do so after June 10, what do we need to do?
If you’ve not participated in the SFSP in previous summers, you must submit an Interest Survey and MDE will contact you. Please email Steve of your intent to offer summer meals to allow us time to order food for your program.
If your school/organization participated in SFSP last summer and wants to do so again, you must update your site and sponsor applications in CLiCs and be approved. The application period will open by April 30. The non-congregant-feeding waiver will automatically roll over through June 30. Please email Steve of your intent to offer summer meals.
Will the current waivers for COVID-19 continue into the summer?
The waiver allowing for non-congregant feeding has been extended only until June 30. MDE is awaiting guidance from the USDA regarding other waivers, including the option to distribute 7-day meal bundles once a week.
Our free and reduced population is below 50%. Can we operate as an open site for SFSP?
MDE has granted waivers to sites with 30% or greater free and reduced populations to operate as open sites during COVID-19 school closures. It is awaiting guidance from the USDA about extending these waivers.
Sponsors with closed-enrolled sites with less than 30% free and reduced should have received an email from MDE on applying to be an open site. Evidence of increased economic hardships for the families of children being served at the site must be provided to receive the waiver. Read the Area Eligibility Policy and Procedures for more information. It is unknown yet whether these waivers will be extended into summer.
Will there be flexibility in the SFSP meal pattern?
The SFSP meal pattern offers flexibility relative to the National School Lunch Program while ensuring kids receive designated amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Offer Versus Serve (OVS) is being extended to SFSP to help reduce waste. We are currently reviewing our menus for OVS opportunities and will provide guidance prior to the launch of SFSP.