Summer Food Service Program
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Summer 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 SY2020-21
As published in the October 9, 2020 USDA Nationwide Waivers, School Food Authorities (SFAs) may choose to provide meal service under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through June 30, 2021 or continue the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The following resources were sent via email to School Nutrition Directors and Authorized Representatives on September 4, 2020 to assist in making their determination.
Meal Pattern Resources
- Meal Pattern Requirements Chart
- Providing Multiple Meals at a Time
- Grain and Bread Chart
- Daily Meal Count Form
- Weekly Menu Planner
- Simplified Site Review Form
Food Safety Resources
- School Nutrition Back to School Food Safety Resource
- What School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers at Schools Need to Know about COVID-19
- Food Safety Regulatory Authorities (by county)
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
- Child Nutrition Waivers - collection of waivers issued by USDA during this public health emergency.
- Child Nutrition Q&As - series of question and answers on flexibilities and waivers.
- Team Nutrition Resources - provides an overview of child nutrition flexibilities.
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 Waiver Request – CNP Meal Service during a COVID-19 Outbreak: allows sponsors to provide non-congregate, reimbursable meals (i.e. Grab n’ Go).
- Iowa Waiver Request – Unanticipated School Closure: allows sponsors to operate at non-school sites during unanticipated school closures.
- Iowa Waiver Request – SFSP COVID-19 Non-Area Eligible Sites: allows Non-Eligible Sites to Operate the Summer Food Service Program During Unanticipated School Closures
Iowa Submitted USDA Waiver Requests
Trainings for Program Sponsors
- Summer Food Service Program Informational Webinar - recorded on 02/19/20, this webinar provides an introduction to who can sponsor the SFSP, what is considered a site, who is eligible to participate, what meals can be served, how to obtain reimbursement for meals and allowable expenses.
- Summer Food Service Program Application Submission Webinar - recorded on 03/04/2020, this webinar provides information on applying to become a sponsor, required pre-approval documents, details of the permanent agreement, appeal rights and step by step instructions on how to complete the online application packet in the IowaCNP.
- Summer Food Service Program Sponsor Training Webinar Part 1 of 2 and Summer Food Service Program Sponsor Training Webinar Part 2 of 2 - recorded on 05/05/2020, this webinar provides details of sponsor responsibilities, including outreach, site determinations and oversight, internal monitoring, meal requirements, reimbursement, civil rights and program renewals and deadlines.
Resources for Program Sponsors
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:
- 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.