Jan. 23, 2019
Help ensure all children in Colorado have access to healthy summer meals
DENVER – The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), administered by the Colorado Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition, is seeking sponsors, sites or state partners to ensure children can continue to receive healthy meals during the summer when they don’t have access to school lunch, breakfast or after school meals.
SFSP fills this gap by providing free meals and snacks to millions of children across the country who otherwise might go hungry. According to the Food Research and Action Center’s Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation report, on average, only eight children received summer lunch for every 100 low-income children who received lunch in the 2016–17 school year in Colorado.
“Over 65 percent of the students in our district qualify for free or reduced price school lunch meals. When school gets out in May, I don’t know where those kids are eating,” said Kara Sample, assistant director of Nutrition Services at Greeley-Evans Weld County School District 6. “Being able to operate a robust summer program for our community is really great.”
Sponsors at the local level include public and private non-profit school districts, local government agencies, camps and other nonprofit community organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program. Participating sponsors then identify eligible sites in their communities that provide free meals to children 18 years and younger.
Many summer meal sites offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and hanging out with friends. Here are some details about the SFSP program:
- Meals are free to youth 18 years and younger who come to a summer meal site.
- Summer meal sites are at schools, churches, community centers and other places that are safe for youth.
- Meals served follow United States Department of Agriculture nutrition guidelines.
- Parents do not need to apply to the program for their children to get free summer meals. They can just bring their child to a summer meal site in their community.
To find sites nearby, parents and kids can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 or visit www.kidsfoodfinder.org.