2012 Press Releases

For Immediate Release: January 18, 2012

Contact: Keith Hovis 651.582.8275

Summer Food Service Program Needs Sponsors to Feed Children

ROSEVILLE - Many families depend on school meals to provide nourishment to their children during the school year. When school is out, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) fills the “nutrition gap” at feeding sites operated by approved sponsors.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is looking for organizations interested in providing free meals for needy children 18 and under during summer 2012. Free meals are provided at schools, colleges and universities, private non-profit organizations, parks, camps, community centers, swimming pools, low-income housing complexes and other locations operated by youth, ethnic, cultural and faith-based organizations. Children may go to any site to receive free meals. No registration is required and there is no cost to children or families.

In 2011, the program had 125 sponsors with 545 sites and provided almost 2 million meals, 14 percent more than in 2010. Participating organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals a day – lunch or supper and either breakfast or a snack. Camps may serve up to three meals a day. Organizations that provide educational or recreational activities are encouraged to apply.

“The Summer Food Service Program guarantees our low-income children will not lose access to the nutritious meals they receive during the regular school year. I highly encourage schools, park and recreation programs, faith-based organizations, and other nonprofit organizations that provide educational and recreational activities for children during the summer to offer meals through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius.

A sponsoring organization must be:

• a public or nonprofit private school;
• a public or nonprofit private residential summer camp;
• a unit of local, municipal, county or state government;
• a public or nonprofit college or university; or
• a private nonprofit organization.

Interested organizations may register their interest by submitting the Interest Survey – New Participants - select Interest Survey – New Participants.

Interested organizations and schools are invited to attend the 2012 Summer Meals Kick-off on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, from 1 - 3 p.m. at MDE in Roseville. Register at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3TVNWX7.

New sponsors are required to attend training, complete application materials and receive a preapproval visit from MDE staff. SFSP training workshops are scheduled for April 10 in Marshall, April 17 (schools only) and 19 (non-schools) in Roseville, and April 24 in Walker.

Register here for April 10, 2012 – Marshall

Register here for April 17, 2012 (schools only) – Roseville

Register here for April 19, 2012 (non-schools only) – Roseville

Register here for April 24, 2012 - Walker

For more information, please contact Jenny Butcher, SFSP Coordinator, MDE-Food and Nutrition Service at 651-582-8526, 1-800-366-8922 (Minnesota Toll-free) or e-mail mde.fns@state.mn.us.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this 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 Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). 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.