Federal Funds Available to Serve Free Summer Meals to Children and Teens
MSDE Seeks to Expand Program’s Success
BALTIMORE – The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is seeking public and private nonprofit organizations to serve free, nutritious meals to children and teens this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program.
Last summer, over 3 million meals and snacks were served to children and teens throughout Maryland as part of the SFSP. Nearly 44 percent of children in the state qualify for free or reduced price meals in school. However, during the summer months these students may not have adequate access to healthy meals. The free summer meals program helps to close that gap and provides access to nutritious meals in a safe environment.
“Summer is a critical time for growth and development for children and teens. It is also a time when access to nutritious meals is more limited since school is not in session,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “The free summer meals program provides reliable nutritious meals for students throughout the summer at safe and welcoming locations. We are committed to ensuring that students continue to have access to healthy meals throughout the summer months.”
The SFSP provides reimbursement to organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent qualify for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program, or 50 percent of the children enrolled in a summer program qualify for free or reduced price meals. Most organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks per child per day. Camps and migrant programs may be reimbursed for up to three meals per child each day. All meals and snacks must meet federal nutrition standards.
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 Leona M. Fitzgerald, Administrative Specialist at 410-767-0219. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2020. For information about the SFSP, please visit www.eatsmartmaryland.org.
The Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are equal opportunity employers and providers.