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Summer Food Service Program Information

Administrative and operational information and guidance for public and private non-profit organizations that participate in the program.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded program that reimburses sponsors for administrative and operational costs for providing meals to children 18 years of age and younger during periods when they are out of school for fifteen (15) or more consecutive school days.

How to Contact Us

For more program information, please contact the SFSP staff of the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division by phone at 800-952-5609, or the SFSP Office Technician at 916-322-8323. You can also contact the SFSP Team by e-mail at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.

Summer Meal Locations

Summer Meal Service Sites and Sponsors

SFSP Operations and Administration


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  1. What Does a Sponsor Do?

    Sponsors are organizations that manage SFSP meal sites. As a sponsor, you will:

    • Complete mandatory training
    • Locate and recruit eligible sites
    • Hire, train, and supervise staff and volunteers
    • Arrange for meals to be prepared or delivered
    • Monitor your sites
    • Prepare claims for reimbursement
    • Ensure that your sponsorship and your sites are sustainable through:

      • Community partnerships
      • Fundraising
      • Volunteer recruitment
  2. Who Can Be an SFSP Sponsor?

    Entities eligible to be an SFSP sponsor include public and private schools; Indian tribal governments; units of local, municipal, or county governments; and other public or private nonprofit agencies.

  3. What Are Site Types?

    There are three main types of sites: Open, Closed-enrolled, and Camps.

    • Open sites operate in low-income areas where at least 50 percent of children residing in the area are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, based on local school or census data. The meals are served free to any child at the site on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    • Closed-enrolled sites are established for a specific group of children who enroll in an organized activity program or who do not reside in an eligible low-income area. The site becomes eligible for SFSP if at least half of the enrolled children qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Because the site is not open to the community, meals are served free only to enrolled children.

    • Camps are sites that offer regularly scheduled food service along with organized activities for enrolled residential or day campers. The camp receives reimbursement only for meals served to enrolled children who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
  4. How Can I Apply?
    • Contact the SFSP Summer Team by phone at 916-322-8323 or by e-mail at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.
    • We will complete a prescreening questionnaire with you over the phone, follow-up with an e-mail that explains how the application process works, and e-mail you an Introduction Packet.
    • The Introduction Packet will include mandatory training information, essential documents, and a list of items you will need to submit.
    • When your application is complete a specialist will schedule a preapproval visit to your agency.
    • This mandatory visit includes an overview of the SFSP program and tests the sponsor’s ability to operate efficiently before the application can be approved.
  5. What is the Application Due Date?
    • Applications are due 45 days before beginning meal service and no later than June 1.
    • Applications submitted after June 1 will not be processed.
  6. How Are Sponsors Reimbursed?
  7. Is Sponsor Training Available?

    Mandatory online training is required annually for all Summer Food Service Program sponsors.
    All sponsors are required to complete the California Professional Nutrition Education and Training Center (Cal-Pro-NET) online training.

    Cal-Pro-NET Training Opportunities Web page External link opens in new window or tab.
    The SFSP Cal-Pro-NET sponsor training is updated every year.

    Mandatory training topics include, but are not limited to:

    • Purpose of the program
    • Site types and determining eligibility
    • Vended meal contracts
    • Menu records for the self-preparation sponsor
    • How reimbursement works
    • Administrative reviews
    • Nondiscrimination compliance
  8. Where Can I Find Guidance, Manuals, and Resources for the SFSP?

    The most recent administrative manuals, management bulletins, and other materials needed for proper administration of the SFSP can be found in the following Web pages:

    Administrative Manuals External link opens in new window or tab.

    USDA Policy Memos External link opens in new window or tab.

    Management Bulletins

    Food Buying Guide External link opens in new window or tab.

    Innovative Strategies to Operate the SFSP External link opens in new window or tab.

  9. How Can I Help Feed More Children in the Community?

    Below are links to information on how to encourage sponsor and site participation, reach out to underserved areas, promote the Summer Meal Programs to families, and partner with other Summer Meal Sponsors.

    USDA Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit Web page External link opens in new window or tab.
    Essential suggestions on how to promote community and family participation in the Summer Meal Programs.

    Summer Meal Coalition Web page External link opens in new window or tab.
    California Summer Meal Coalition Partnership Information.

    Food, Research & Action Center (FRAC) Events Calendar Web page External link opens in new window or tab.
    Helpful SFSP related Webinar and Conference Call opportunities.

    SFSP Tri-fold Brochure (DOC; Dated Nov-2015)
    Brochure to promote the SFSP in California.

    Summer Meals Family Flyer (DOC; Dated Nov-2015)
    A half page flyer to promote Summer Meal sites to families and caregivers.
    Available Translations of the Summer Meals Family Flyer

  10. Where Can I Find Nutrition Information for the SFSP?


    USDA SFSP Meal Patterns
    External link opens in new window or tab.
    Details for the SFSP breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack meal requirements.

    USDA Food and Nutrition Service Web site External link opens in new window or tab.
    USDA Team Nutrition Web page.

    Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs.pdf External link opens in new window or tab. (2MB)
    Infant nutrition information for use in Child Nutrition Programs.

    Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs
    Clarification on the process, requirements, options, and resources for accommodating children, with and without disabilities, who have special dietary needs.

    Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations (DOC)
    Available Translations of the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations
    Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese translations of the Medical Statement.

  11. How Can I Receive Regular Announcements from the SFSP?

    Summer Food Service Program Information by e-mail.
    Sign up for our e-mail list to receive regular announcements.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609 or 916-322-8323
Last Reviewed: Friday, February 12, 2016

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