Ohio officials urge groups to apply for Summer Food Service Program

Staff report


Nearly 60,000 Ohio children received a free meal each day last summer through the Summer Food Service Program.

More than 3.7 million meals were provided for children during the summer, an average of 59,924 Ohio children per day. This year, the Ohio Department of Education wants to increase the number of children served and is looking for local sponsors and sites to operate the program.

Nonprofit organizations offering summer activities for low-income youth or children living in low-income areas are encouraged to apply for the 2014 program.

The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure that children between age 1 and 18 can continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer school break, when they do not have access to school lunches or breakfasts.

Children with disabilities who have an approved Individual Education Plan may participate through age 21.

“It is important to ensure that Ohio children receive a nutritious meal each day even when school is not in session,” said Richard A. Ross, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Children must have the proper nourishment to learn, play and grow.”

Last summer, the program served children at 1,454 locations with more than 190 sponsors participating in the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sponsors receive reimbursements to provide nutritious meals to children at eligible sites.

Schools and nonprofit organizations may qualify to participate in the Summer Food Service Program if their program sites are in areas where 50 percent of children qualify for USDA free and reduced-price school meals.

Training will be provided for all new sponsoring agencies.

The application process must be completed by May 1.

Organizations interested in becoming sponsors or sites with existing sponsors should visit the department of education website at www.education.ohio.gov and search for “SFSP potential sponsor survey.”

Potential sponsors interested in participating in the 2014 summer program should complete the survey no later than Friday.

For information, call 800-808-6325. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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