June 26, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Urges
Families to Utilize Summer Meal Sites
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced disadvantaged families may access an interactive 2012 Summer Meal Service Sites - Food Programs Web page to find out where to take their children for free, nutritious meals during the summer recess.
"When school is closed for the summer, many low-income children don’t have access to the nutritious and free or inexpensive meals usually offered during the school year," said Torlakson. "I encourage families to go to the hundreds of summer meal sites already open throughout the state to ensure their kids get the proper nutrition needed to help them develop properly and be ready to learn when they return to school."
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) serves free meals to children in geographic areas where at least 50 percent of students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals. The programs may also operate activities for children.
SFSP reimburses agencies that serve nutritious meals to children 18 years and younger during school vacation. The program benefits all children in accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, and is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
SFSP operates when schools in the community are on vacation for at least 15 continuous school days, or when year-round schools are not in session. Non-school sponsors may also serve snacks to children after school under SFSP.
Eligible sponsors and locations may include schools, camps, Indian tribal governments, private nonprofit agencies, and municipal, state, county, or local government offices. Sponsors may prepare meals or obtain meals from another SFSP sponsor, public or commercial food vendor, or a school food service department.
All meals must meet the USDA minimum meal guidelines. Meals must follow a specified plan that includes milk, fruits, vegetables or juice, grain products, and meat or meat alternative. Meals may include breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.
The 2012 summer sites are posted at the California Department of Education’s Web site at 2012 Summer Meal Service Sites - Food Programs. The interactive map will point parents to a summer meal site near them. Parents can then call site directors listed for more information. If parents do not have access to computers, they can also call the Hunger Hotline, 1-866-3HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479), for assistance.