Given the severity of this winter, many of you have probably already been thinking about summer and warmer weather. Perhaps you're dreaming of time off from school.
The Minnesota Department of Education, however, hopes your school, summer camp, nonprofit enrichment program or even Vacation Bible School will step up to provide sound nutrition to kids in need this summer.
There are two federally reimbursed programs through which you may offer summer meals to kids 18 years and younger in eligible geographic areas: the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The Seamless Summer Option is for schools serving meals under the National School Lunch Program during the school year. It's "seamless" because it allows schools to follow the same operational guidelines during the summer that they abide by during the school year. The Summer Food Service Program is open to schools, nonprofit organizations, youth enrichment programs, day camps and the like.
According to MDE, "SFSP provides a higher reimbursement and is the primary program for summer, allowing school food authorities and nonprofit sponsors to operate both open and enrolled sites over the summer months."
MDE is currently seeking SFSP site sponsors, which have administrative responsibilities for one or more SFSP feeding sites. Schools and nonprofit organizations that did not participate in SFSP last year, but want to be a sponsor this summer, should complete this interest survey for more information. If you'd like to be a feeding site and do not have a sponsoring organization to administer your program, MDE provides a list of sponsors (PDF) you may partner with, or you may call CKC Good Food to be connected with sponsors we serve.
MDE provides many resources and training opportunities (beginning this month!) to help program sponsors establish and promote a successful summer meal program. USDA also provides guidance on both the SFSP and the SSO. While government agencies should be your primary source of official information, CKC Good Food can answer questions based on our many prior years of experience providing nutritionally compliant, easy-to-serve summer meals.
Please help fill a critical need for kids this summer by providing nutritious meals.
USDA Summer Food Service Program fact sheet [English / Spanish]
USDA Summer Meals Toolkit
Seamless Summer Option: An Opportunity for School Districts (MDE)
MDE Summer Food Service Program fact sheet
Photo: Janko Ferlic on Unsplash