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California Department of Education News Release (with no CDE logo)
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-96
December 21, 2017
Contact: Cynthia Butler
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California Summer Food Service Program Sponsors on National Award

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today recognized eight California Summer Food Service Sponsors who received a 2017 Summer Sunshine Award by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The Summer Food Service Program enables children to receive free healthy and nutritious meals during the summer and off-track periods,” said Torlakson. ”The summer meal programs could not exist without the sponsors who operate these sites. Feeding students in our most disadvantaged communities during the summer helps those children return to the school year ready to learn.” 

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses participating organizations that provide free meals to children 18 and younger during summer vacation or when those students who attend year-round schools are out of school for 15 or more consecutive days. All meals must meet federal nutrition requirements.

Sponsors serve meals and snacks at state-approved locations where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year. This summer, the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division approved 549 sponsors to operate programs at 4,842 meal sites across 53 counties.

The USDA Western Region Summer Sunshine Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of organizations that provide nutritious meals during the summer months. Sponsors are recognized in four different categories:

The Reaching Rural, Tribal and Underserved Communities Award recognizes organizations that started or expanded their summer meal programs for underserved children. The two California awardees successfully increased meal access for children in:

  • Del Norte County Unified School District
  • San Jacinto Unified School District

The Innovative and Impactful Enrichment Activities Award is presented to organizations that demonstrated commitment to providing enrichment activities such as physical and nutrition education, summer learning, and wellness promotion. These awardees utilized partnerships, volunteers, and donations to create engaging activities including healthy barbecues, gardening, reading, exercise, and wellness education:

  • Hesperia Unified School District
  • Manteca Unified School District
  • Riverside Unified School District

The Excellence in Community Partnerships Award is a commendation for organizations that effectively collaborated with community partners to strengthen their local summer meal programs. The California winner in this category partnered with nonprofit social service organizations:

  • YMCA of Superior California Summer Camp Collaborations

The Raising Community Awareness Award recognizes organizations that utilized innovative and effective marketing and outreach methods to raise community awareness. These California awardees worked with elected officials, private nonprofits, and other partners to reach families through bus advertisements, radio, and social media, in addition to developing an outreach toolkit for other organizations:

  • Natomas Unified School District
  • Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative

To learn more about California summer meal programs, please visit the California Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program Web page.


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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 21, 2017
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