January 25, 2016
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Seeks Sponsors for Summer Meals Program
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today urged eligible organizations—schools, camps, nonprofits, Indian tribal governments, and government offices among them—to apply to become Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors and ensure underprivileged children have access to nutritious meals once school is out. Applications are due before June 1, 2016.
"Summer for our students should be a time of discovery, fun, and making memories," Torlakson said. "For many California children from low-income families, however, summer can represent just the opposite with limited opportunities for educational enrichment, a lack of safe places for social activities, or a time without healthy meals to eat."
Good summer nutrition plays an important role in addressing childhood obesity as well as combatting the "summer slide," a learning loss that many children experience during the summer months.
The SFSP is a federally funded, state-administered program that serves meals to children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals or live in geographic areas where at least 50 percent of students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals. The program works by reimbursing agencies that serve nutritious meals to children eighteen years and younger during school vacation. The SFSP operates when schools in a community are on vacation for at least 15 continuous school days or when year-round schools are off track.
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 U.S. Department of Agriculture minimum meal pattern requirements. Eligible sponsors often provide summer activities for children as well.
For more information about becoming a summer food sponsor, visit the California Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program Information Web page. To speak directly with an SFSP representative, call 1-800-952-5609, or contact Vince Keene, SFSP Program Specialist, by phone at 916-322-8319 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Larry Frakes, SFSP Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-8323 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The CDE will update its Summer Meal Service Sites interactive Web map early this summer to help families locate meal sites or sponsors close to their homes.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100