BALTIMORE — The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced that federal funds are available to assist public and private nonprofit organizations in serving free nutritious meals and snacks to children this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U. S. Department of Agriculture program.
Nearly 390,000 Maryland children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, but may not have access to nutritious meals during the summer when schools are closed. For every 100 eligible children, only 16 participate in the summer nutrition program. For families with children, food insecurity increases during the summer months. The SFSP provides children the nutritious meals they need to keep hunger at bay and remain healthy throughout the summer.
“The meals provided by the Summer Food Service Program support summer programs and help draw children into educational, enrichment and recreational activities that keep them learning, engaged, active and safe during school vacation. The program helps prepare children for the new school year so they can perform to the best of their ability,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.
The SFSP provides reimbursement to organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the NSLP, or when 50 percent of the children enrolled in a program qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Most organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks per child per day. Migrant programs and camps may be reimbursed for up to three meals per child per day. Meals and snacks must meet federal nutrition guidelines.
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 MSDE at 410-767-0214. The deadline for applications is May 29, 2015. For information about the SFSP, visit: www.eatsmartmaryland.org.