OKLAHOMA CITY – The 2020 Summer Food Service Program is looking for new and returning sponsors.
SFSP, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, provides nutritious meals at no charge to children during the summer, when school is not in session. Eligible sponsors include: public or governmental agencies; private, nonprofit residential summer camps; and private, nonprofit organizations. Some are expected to be in Cherokee County.
Sponsors provide a site and staff for the summer meal program and must meet specific requirements. Financial assistance is given to approved sponsors to assist with the cost of obtaining, preparing and serving food under the program, including administrative costs.
“Sponsors are critical to the success of the Summer Food Service Program. We are grateful for our returning sponsors and encourage new sponsors to join us in fighting childhood hunger and the so-called ‘summer slide,’” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “The summer food program ensures that when children go back to school in August, they do so ready to learn, with healthy minds and bodies.”
OSDE’s eight-year strategic plan, Oklahoma Edge, includes measurable goals related to child nutrition. Oklahoma is the only state in the nation to leverage food as an academic intervention in its federal education plan to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Hofmeister noted that though progress has been made, many food-insecure communities and areas still do not offer summer meals to children.
“The 7 percent increase in summer meals through SFSP since summer 2018 is an excellent start, but many children continue to struggle with food insecurity during the summer months. The need is great for additional sponsors to step in to ensure no Oklahoma child experiences hunger when school is not in session.”
The SFSP focuses on two types of children: those from needy areas who are participating in summer educational or recreational programs; and eligible children enrolled in summer camps. Children age 18 and under may receive free meals at any participating SFSP site. Those 19 years and older with a mental or physical disability who participate in a public or private nonprofit program related to the disability during the school year are also eligible.
Needy areas are those in which half of the children are eligible for free- and reduced-price meals in school. Eligibility may also be determined on an individual basis or via census information.
To become a SFSP sponsor and to learn more upcoming required trainings, contact Dee Houston at 405-522-4943, 405-420-9367, or firstname.lastname@example.org.