The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced that federal funds are available to assist public and private nonprofit organizations in providing free meals and snacks to children this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U. S. Department of Agriculture program.
Over 350,000 Maryland children rely on school meals during the school year, but do not have access to the meals during the summer. The SFSP links the end of one school year to the beginning of the next year by providing nutritious meals during the summer months. Children will not have to experience hunger during the summer and can return to school ready to learn. The SFSP is one way that agencies can combat childhood hunger in Maryland.
“It is important that local organizations actively engage their communities by operating a summer activities program that includes the SFSP. When this occurs, more children receive the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and play during the summer months,” said Dr. Bernard J. Sadusky, Interim State Superintendent of Schools.
The SFSP provides reimbursement to organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program, or when 50 percent of the children enrolled in a program qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Most organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks per child per day. Migrant programs and camps may be reimbursed for up to three meals per child per day.
The Program is open to children and teens age 18 and under and to individuals over 18 who are mentally or physically disabled. Interested organizations should contact MSDE at 410-767-0225. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2012. For information about the program, please visit eatsmartmaryland.org.