Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals and snacks to low-income children during the summer months and long school vacations. Child food insecurity continues to be a significant problem, with almost 16 million children in America at risk of hunger[1].  While child hunger is a problem year round, it is of special concern during the summer and over long school breaks when children are unable to access school meals. The SFSP works to reach children in need through sites operated by schools, government agencies, summer camps, day camps, churches, or community organizations.

How SFSP Works

SFSP is an entitlement program that guarantees a set reimbursement for each qualifying meal or snack served. Children qualify for SFSP if they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals which must be certified through the application and enrollment process. To qualify for free meals, children must live in households with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty level or a household receiving SNAP or TANF. To qualify for reduced-price meals, family incomes must be between 130 and 185 percent of the poverty line. However, if the SFSP site is located in a high-poverty area – one in which at least 50 percent of area children qualify for free or reduced-price meals – all children at that site are eligible. Reimbursable meals served through SFSP sites must meet federal nutrition standards.

Additional Resources

SFSP Website:

[1] Gundersen, C., E. Engelhard, A. Satoh, & E. Waxman. Map the Meal Gap 2014. Feeding America, 2014.


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