State kicks off Summer Food Service Program application cycle

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Human Services officials announced the availability of funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the 2014 Summer Food Service Program.

The federally funded program is intended to assure children who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year, have access to nutritious meals during the summer. DHS needs partners, especially in underserved areas, to help meet these needs. New sponsors and sites are invited to partner with this initiative.

Children 18 and under are eligible to receive meals through the SFSP. In addition, a person 19 years of age and older who has a mental or physical disability and participates during the school year in a public or private nonprofit school program, established for the disabled, is also eligible to receive meals.

Eligible sponsors include schools, private nonprofit organizations, government entities, and non-profit residential camps. Sponsors are reimbursed on a per-meal basis for meals served to eligible children and may sponsor the SFSP at one or more sites. In 2013, 91 sponsors served more than 4 million meals to children at 2,136 sites across Tennessee. Although many meals were served, only 12.6 percent of eligible children have accessed the program.

“Over the past few years, partners in the SFSP have increased reach to children across the state, and there is still the potential to benefit many more,” said DHS Commissioner Raquel Hatter. “We’re excited to work toward finding new community partners, while continuing to work with established sponsors and federal partners in assisting low income families and children have access to healthy meals during summer months.”

The deadline for new organizations to submit applications for sponsorship to the Tennessee Department of Human Services is at least 45 days prior to the anticipated start date of their program.

The criteria for the sponsorship are simple and straightforward, as outlined in the USDA Administrative Guidance for Sponsors Manual. Sponsoring organizations must agree to serve meals to all children in attendance regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. 

The Department of Human Services will hold SFSP workshops across the state to train new sponsors, refresh existing sponsors on program requirements and present new requirements on federal regulations.

Any organization interested in sponsoring the SFSP, or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor may contact Carmen Gentry or Pamela Norton before April 15 at 615-313‑4749 or by e-mail at carmen.gentry@tn.gov or pamela.norton@tn.gov

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp.

In accordance with federal law and USDA policy, th institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

 To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 866-632-9992. Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 or 800-845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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