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Summer Food Service Program

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Summer Food Service ProgramSummer is an exciting time for children to enjoy time with friends, a week at camp, a family vacation, or time at the pool. But for many children, summer can mean hunger. Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), administered by the Iowa Department of Education, provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. There are many summer food service program meal and snack sites across the state of Iowa, however the program is still vastly under-utilized.

Providing Meals Under SFSP During SY 2020-21

Meal Pattern Resources

Food Safety Resources

Program Integrity

To promote and maintain the accountability and integrity of the USDA Child Nutrition Programs, SFSP sponsoring organizations are required to implement procedures to ensure that meals are responsibly distributed to parents/guardians of eligible students, and that duplicate meals are not distributed. When providing non-congregate meals that are picked up by parents, it is important for parents to be informed to not take a meal or snack for consumption at home if that same meal or snack will be provided by the school, another SFSP sponsor, or a local child care center or daycare home.

Integrity Sign - Sample sign that may be posted at meal distribution sites and provided to families.

USDA COVID-19 Waivers, Q&As, and Resources

For a listing of waivers for Child Nutrition Programs and the Summer Food Service Program during School Year 2020-21, visit the School Meals webpage.

USDA Waiver Requests - Public Notification

The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is seeking the following waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

Submitted and Approved USDA Waiver Requests

Iowa ​Submitted USDA Waiver Requests

Trainings for Program Sponsors

Resources for Program Sponsors

USDA's "Meals for Kids"

Interactive map directs people to local sites where kids can get free meals or call 211 or 1-866-3-HUNGRY, or text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877. Services are available in English and Spanish.

Meal Site Eligibility

Summer Food Service Program meal sites operate as "open," "closed enrolled," or "camp" sites.

  • Open sites operate in low-income areas where half or more of the children are from households with income at or below 185% of the Federal poverty guidelines. Meals are provided at no charge to all children at the open site.
  • Closed Enrolled sites provide meals only to children who are enrolled in an activity program, such as a day camp at the site. In order for an enrolled site to participate in the program, at least 50% of the children must be from households with incomes at or below 185% of the poverty level.
  • Residential camps and nonresidential camps may participate regardless of the location and are reimbursed only for eligible participants.

Utilize the following resources to help determine site eligibility: 

Promotional Resources

USDA Summer Meals Toolkit

  • USDA Summer Meals Toolkit - Designed for individuals and organizations interested in serving as Summer Meal champions in their communities at any level of program administration. The outreach materials can be utilized to promote summer food service program sites in and/or around the communities you serve.
  • USDA Raise Awareness - Resources include templates for flyers, postcards, bookmarks, and business cards.
  • Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit - Share Our Strength has developed this toolkit to help your organization work with the media to promote summer meals programs as well as outreach materials that you can tailor with tips to use in your community.

USDA Resources

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 26, 2021 at 7:49pm.