Dear County and District Superintendents and Direct-Funded Charter School Administrators:
More and more children go hungry every day, and I encourage all of you to help ensure that hungry children are fed when school is out for summer break.
As a longtime advocate for students’ health, I am committed to helping California students make healthy choices. I launched the Team California for Healthy Kids campaign to focus on making healthy eating and physical activity accessible throughout the day, in schools, before and after school, in early childhood programs, and in communities. The goals of the Team California campaign are to increase physical activity and improve access to water, fresh foods, and salad bars. One of the three core values of the campaign is local participation in all federal child nutrition programs, including the summer meal program. Please help me support the campaign and its core values by ensuring that students have access to summer meal programs in your community.
Research indicates that children’s mental alertness and cognitive development improve when they consume nutritious meals. Research also suggests that hunger during the summer is increasing, thus interfering with students’ development. Children who eat nutritious meals and participate in safe activities during the summer are more creative and productive in school and at home. Summer meal programs enhance these enrichment activities, which improve student attendance and engagement and help combat childhood obesity and summer learning loss.
The California Department of Education (CDE) administers two summer meal programs that provide nutritious meals for disadvantaged children: the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO). It is extremely important that these programs become accessible to our students, and I strongly encourage schools to participate in one of these summer meal programs. Please visit the CDE Summer Food Service Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sf for detailed information about these programs and to determine which option is best for your district or school.
The CDE has created a searchable, interactive Web page that lists summer food sites and meal service information. You will find this map on the CDE Summer Meal Service Sites Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/summersites.asp.
Still not sure which summer option is best for your district or school? Please visit the CDE Summer Food Service Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sf/ for general information about our summer meals programs.
You can also learn or share information about becoming an SFSP sponsor by utilizing our Summer Food Service Program Brochure on the CDE SFSP Guidance, Manuals, and Resources Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sf/mgmb.asp#resources.
For additional information, success stories, and tools for running a successful summer meal program, please visit the California Summer Meal Program Coalition Web site at http://www.summermealcoalition.org/.
Thank you in advance for considering what you can do to increase the number of California’s children receiving healthy and nutritious meals during the summer months.
If you have questions regarding the SFSP, please contact one of the Summer Food Program staff in the Nutrition Services Division:
|Summer Food Staff||Phone Number||Toll-Free Phone Number|
If you have any questions regarding the SSFO or the State Meal Mandate, please contact Donna Reedy, School Nutrition Program Specialist, by phone at 916-327-5866 or 800-952-5609 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.