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For-Profit Locations as Meal Sites in the SFSP

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Action Required, Beneficial Information

To: Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-SFSP-05-2011

Attention: Food Program Director

Date: June 2011

Subject: For-Profit Locations As Meal Sites in the Summer Food Service Program


  • Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 225.2
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Memo SFSP13-2011 (April 8, 2011): For-Profit Locations as Meal Sites in the Summer Food Service Program
  • Food and Nutrition Service Instruction 776.6, Revision I (1987)

This Management Bulletin (MB) notifies sponsors of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that, as of summer 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow the California Department of Education (CDE) to approve meal service at “for-profit” sites if they are operated by eligible non-profit SFSP sponsors. This MB also explains the limitations for meal service at “for-profit” sites.


Previously, the USDA limited SFSP meal service to non-profit sites. “For-profit” sites that were under the sponsorship of an eligible private non-profit or public service institution could not participate in the SFSP.

The USDA determined that not allowing “for-profit” sites to participate in the SFSP, limits access to the program in low-income areas where there is a lack of non-profit sites. For example, many children live in apartment complexes owned by “for-profit” corporations. A community room at a “for-profit” site in a low-income area is preferable to no site at all.

Changes Allowing For-profit Sites

The USDA determined that it is in the best interest of the SFSP to expand the criteria for site eligibility to include “for-profit” sites, with limitations. The purpose of this change is to improve access to the community, not to provide a competitive advantage among “for-profit” entities in the community. “For-profit” camps remain ineligible for participation in SFSP.

The USDA still gives authority to states to deny “for-profit” sites. Furthermore, the USDA intends to monitor the implementation of this change for potential effects on program integrity.

Criteria for SFSP Meal Service in For-Profit Sites

“For-profit” meal service sites must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Operate under the sponsorship of an eligible public or private non-profit institution
  • Operate as open sites or restricted open sites
  • Be located in an area in which at least 50 percent of the children are from households that are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
  • Make meals available to all children in the area and serve meals to children on a first come, first served basis
  • Serve all meals at no charge
  • Adhere to the same provisions that apply to all other SFSP sites

Sponsors approved to operate the meal service at a “for-profit” site must maintain operational control over the meal service at the site and must ensure that no SFSP funds are provided to the site. The site operators cannot prepare the meals and funds cannot be provided, given, or otherwise paid to the site to employ site staff. Only the sponsor’s own trained staff and volunteers and sponsor-trained site staff serving as volunteers are permitted to distribute the meals.

If you have questions, please contact Melissa Garza by phone at 916-322-5885 or by e-mail at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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