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Sponsors sought for Summer Food Service Program

Friday, January 25, 2019


Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Director, (608) 266-3559

MADISON — Last year, 240 sponsors provided meals to thousands of students across the state through the Summer Food Service Program. The Department of Public Instruction is seeking new and renewal sponsors to meet the needs of economically disadvantaged children during the 2019 summer break from school.

Sponsors can be

  • Public or private nonprofit school food authorities;
  • Public or private nonprofit summer camps;
  • Units of local, municipal, county, tribal, or state governments;
  • Public or private colleges or universities that are currently participating in the National Youth Sports and Precollege Programs; and
  • Private nonprofit organizations (special considerations and restrictions apply).

During the summer months of 2018, 240 Summer Food Service Program sponsors provided 2.9 million free meals to children from low‑income families. Sponsors operated 965 sites statewide, an increase of 60 sites from the prior year.

“Many families struggle to provide food for their children throughout the year, but especially so during the summer when the School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs aren’t running,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “The Summer Food Service Program helps close a nutrition gap for children in communities throughout the state. I encourage more public and private schools and nonprofit organizations to run nutrition sites so more children have access to nutritious meals this summer.”

The most common sponsor for the Summer Food Service Program has been local school districts that combine a meal program with their summer school sessions. Through partnerships and creative collaboration, some districts have been able to work with other organizations to extend the Summer Food Service Program beyond summer school to meet the needs of more children.

All sponsors for the 2019 program year must complete the online Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) application. Additionally, all potential sponsors must, by Feb. 15, select at least one training opportunity listed on the department’s SFSP training page. Training options include pop-up sessions, an online course, or group session. New sponsors should select the New Sponsor/Personnel Training on March 8 in Madison.

The DPI has submitted six waivers to SFSP requirements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to benefit program operations for the entire state. The waivers, which had been in effect until rescinded on Oct. 11, 2018, provide flexibilities that allow for efficient and cost effective program operations and reduce administrative burdens to sponsoring organizations and DPI staff.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by U.S. mail, fax or e-mail to:

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Fax: (202) 690-7442


The DPI has participated in the Summer Food Service Program since 1975 and is an equal opportunity provider. Additional information about the program is available from Amy Kolano, (608) 266-7124, the DPI website, or the USDA.


Official Release