SUMMER MEALS 101
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program that provides free meals and snacks to children 18 and under in low-income areas during the summer at parks, schools and community sites.
WHY ARE SUMMER MEALS IMPORTANT
Children in low-income areas lose access to meals during the summer time. Many children in Tennessee rely on free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) during the school year. According to recent FRAC data, only 1 in 7 children in Tennessee who ate a free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2016-2017 school year were reached by the summer meal programs in July 2017. Summer meals alleviate child hunger by providing children with nutritional meals that benefit their health and development and can reduce summer learning loss. Summer meals also promote good health and make children less susceptible to physical and mental illnesses.
BE A SUMMER MEALS ADVOCATE
Mobilize your Community to Sponsor the Program: Find existing summer programs in low-income areas and ask them to serve SFSP summer meals to the kids in their program.
Volunteer at Local Sites: Promote existing summer meal program sites so families know they exist and that children are welcome. Post information about summer meal program times and locations throughout your community.
Talk to your school leaders: Encourage your local school to participate in the summer meals program or to expand their current program to reach more children or operate all summer long.
THE TENNESSEE JUSTICE CENTER CAN HELP
- Identify areas of eligibility for new sites
- Provide technical assistance to communities interested in establishing a summer meals site
- Educate both families and potential providers in communities about the benefits of SFSP
- Locate grants to assist sites and sponsors with creation or expansion of their SFSP
- Provide outreach assistance for program promotion
- Refer families and community members to sites in their area