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Summer Food Service Program

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What is the SFSP?

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded, state-administered program that reimburses program operators who serve free healthy meals and snacks to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months, when children do not have access to school meals.

What Organizations Can Participate?

Sponsors are the organizations that run the SFSP. They can be:

  • Public or private nonprofit School Food Authorities (SFA)
    • In lieu of the SFSP, SFAs may choose to participate in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, or Seamless Summer Option to provide summer meals. Review Summer Meal Programs Choices for Schools for more information.
  • Public or private nonprofit summer camps.
  • Units of local, municipal, county, tribal or State governments.
  • Public or private colleges or universities.
  • Private nonprofit organizations that have Federal tax-exempt status 501(c)3 under the Internal Revenue System (IRS) or are a church organization.
  • A sponsor must be fully capable of managing a food service program, follow regulations, and be financially and administratively responsible for running its program.
Eligible Participants
  • Children 18 and younger.
  • Disabled individuals over age 18 who are enrolled in public or private school programs.
Meal Sites
  • A meal service site is a physical location, approved by the State agency, where you serve SFSP meals during a supervised time period. There are different types of sites: open, restricted open, closed enrolled, camp, migrant and NYSP. Each has its own criteria for eligibility. Review Site Definitions & Eligibility Documentation for further guidance. Meal service sites may be located in a variety of settings, including schools, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, churches, community centers, day camps, residential summer camps, housing projects, migrant centers, or on Indian reservations.
Site Eligibility Requirements

Most eligible organizations provide meals to children at sites that are located within areas that are considered low income or ‘area eligible’. The following data may be used to determine if a location is area eligible.

  • Wisconsin Free/Reduced Eligibility for All Public Schools (October 2019): A SFSP site may operate in a suitable location within the attendance area of a public school building with a School Eligibility of 50% or more, as published in the most current Wisconsin Public School Eligibility Data Report or based on the most recent Free/Reduced-priced or Community Eligibility data.
  • Census Data may be used in lieu of the Wisconsin Free/Reduced Eligibility Data. The USDA Capacity Builder Map is capable of identifying eligible areas and also locations of potential partners in your community (churches, housing authorities, libraries, etc.). Enter an address in the Find Address or Place search field. The pink areas qualify. For assistance, contact WI SFSP Coordinator, Amy Kolano at (608) 266-7124.
  • Once established, area eligibility remains in effect for five years.

Although not typical, Summer Food Programs can operate in areas that do not qualify via census data or school data. These types of programs provide meals to children who have specifically been determined to be low-income. See SFSP Site Definitions and Eligibility Documentation for an overview of all site types and eligibility requirements.

Meal Preparation
  • A sponsor may prepare its own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or contract for meals with a food service management company (vendor).
  • Sponsors that prepare their own meals receive a slightly higher ‘self-prep’ rate of reimbursement.
  • Sponsors that purchase meals from a school or another public or private food supplier with approved meal preparation facilities and are also located within an urban area, receive the lower rate of reimbursement.
  • For further details, review Procurement in the Summer Food Service Program.
  • Meals and snacks must follow the SFSP Meal Pattern Requirements.
Reimbursement
  • Most sponsors may be approved to receive reimbursement for serving up to two meals or one meal and a snack per day (usually breakfast and lunch or lunch and a snack).
  • Residential, non-residential camps, and migrant sites, may receive reimbursement for up to 3 meal services per day. Camps are reimbursed based on percentage of children that are determined income eligible.
  • For further details, review Program Reimbursements in the Summer Food Service Program.

Join the SFSP

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For information on joining the SFSP, check out the Join the SFSP page.

For questions about this information, contact Amy Kolano (608) 266-7124