Summer Food Service Program for Children

To assist States, through grants-in-aid and other means, to conduct nonprofit food service programs for children.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates SFSP in partnership with State agencies and local organizations to provide free meals to eligible children during the summer
months and at other approved times, when school is not in session.

In addition, since 2010, FNS has implemented several types of demonstration projects to test alternative methods for feeding children during the summer months, such as the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children grants.

FNS supports this demonstration through two EBT models ? a debit card model that allows participants to redeem benefits at SNAP-authorized retailers and a food package model that allows participants to redeem benefits for a prescribed set of foods at WIC-authorized retailers.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

See the FNS Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 10,000   2021-10-012022-09-30
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 14,400,000   2021-10-012022-09-30
The Cherokee Nation $ 2,280,426   2021-04-012021-09-30
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 812,947   2020-10-012021-09-30
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 3,231,578   2020-10-012021-09-30
Chickasaw Nation $ 11,612,430   2019-06-082021-09-30
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 282,967   2019-10-012020-09-30
Education, Kansas Dept Of $ 7,333,397   2019-10-012020-09-30
Health And Human Services Commission, Texas $ 0   2017-10-012019-12-31
The Cherokee Nation $ 306,738   2018-05-252019-12-31

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: FNS focused on decreasing childhood hunger in the summer months through targeted assistance at the State and local level and efforts to improve access in rural and tribal communities. During FY 2016, 48,618 meal service sites provided 154.5 million meals to children. The number of meals served declined 5.5 percent from FY 2015. Compared to FY 1990, meals have increased 70.2 percent from 91.2 million. Approximately 57.2 percent of the meals served were lunches, 28.2 percent were breakfasts, and the remaining 14.7 percent were suppers or snacks. FNS awarded Summer EBT funding to 2015 grantees to continue and expand their efforts to reach more children in rural, tribal, and other areas of significant need. Grantees were approved to target benefits to over 250,000 children, nearly 90 percent more than were served in 2015. Fiscal Year 2017: Funding needed for SFSP will increase to support 188.1 million meals. In an effort to institutionalize successful strategies, FNS has begun to shift from targeting assistance in focus States to promoting sustainable growth nationwide. In summer 2017, Summer EBT grantees have been approved to spend up to $30.3 million to continue providing summertime nutrition assistance to high-need children. Seven of the nine grantees are expanding their projects to serve more low-income children in rural communities in 2017 by adding communities within their State or Tribal Nation and boosting outreach to eligible children. Fiscal Year 2018: The current estimate projects a 2 percent increase in SFSP cost that would support 199.4 million meals, an increase of approximately 11.3 million meals (or 6.0 percent) above the estimate for FY 2017. Grants to two new applicants to operate demonstrations in 2018 will allow FNS and the States to test strategies for building Summer EBT infrastructure and engaging local communities. FNS intends to again conduct a competitive process that would award $31.5 million in Summer EBT grants.

Uses and Use Restrictions

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) makes funds available to States for disbursement to eligible service institutions (sponsors) which provide free meals to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children meet the income eligibility criteria for free and reduced price meals.

Meals may be served to children 18 and younger, and to individuals over 18 who participate in State-approved school programs for persons with disabilities.

SFSP generally operates during the months of May through September at site locations where regularly scheduled food services are provided for children.

Sites may also participate in SFSP from September through May if an area school is closed because of an emergency situation.

Sponsors operating food programs for children on school vacation under a continuous year-round calendar may apply for participation in other months.

Reimbursement may be paid for one meal and one snack or two meals to each child each day.

Camps and sites primarily serving children of migrant workers may be approved to serve up to three reimbursable meals to each child each day.

Meals must meet USDA standards to be eligible for reimbursement.

Funds are also paid to participating State agencies for administrative expenses related to program staffing, operation, and oversight.

Summer demonstration projects either address funding limitations that restrict participation or provide an alternate approach to summer meals needed by children unable to access traditional congregate meal service sites.

Assistance must be used for specific activities authorized by Child Nutrition legislation.

There may be restrictions as required by the legislation.

Only States that formally apply and are selected by FNS are eligible to implement this demonstration to provide benefits to free and reduced-price eligible children whose families consent to participate.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The State or U.S.

Territory agency applies for and signs an agreement to receive Federal funds for disbursement.

The State agency enters into an agreement with each sponsor that has been approved for participation.

The agreement is permanent and may be amended as necessary to ensure compliance with all Federal requirements.

Sponsors must agree to operate a nonprofit food service that is available to all eligible children regardless of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability.

Beneficiary Eligibility

A service institution that conducts a regularly scheduled program for children from areas in which poor economic conditions exist is eligible to participate as a sponsor in this program. Sponsors include public or private nonprofit school food authorities; public or private nonprofit colleges or universities operating the National Youth Sports Program during the months of May to September; units of local, municipal, county, or State governments; and other faith or community-based private nonprofit organizations. Public or private nonprofit residential or nonresidential summer camps may also participate. However, at camps, reimbursement will only be paid for meals served to enrolled children who are individually determined to be eligible for free and reduced price school meals under USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines.


Applicants that are not public institutions must furnish evidence of tax-exempt status under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. An applicant submits a written application to the State agency for participation in SFSP as a sponsor. FNS selects States for the Summer EBT demonstration through a formal grants process.

Award Procedures

Each State agency enters into a written agreement with FNS for the administration of the Program. An approved sponsor enters into a permanent written operating agreement with the State agency. Awards for the Summer EBT demonstration are governed by amendments to State agency plans of operation or Federal/State agreements.


Not Applicable.


Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, Sections 9, 13, 14, and 26, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 1758, 1761, 1762a, and 1769g; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010, P.L. 111-80, Section 749(g)(1).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The State agency must make a decision within 30 calendar days of receiving a complete and correct sponsor application. If an incorrect application is received, the State agency must notify the applicant within 15 days and provide technical assistance to complete the application.


The State agency must have a hearing procedure for local institution grievances.


The agreement is permanent and may be amended as necessary to ensure compliance with all Federal requirements.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Sections 13(b) and (k) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. 1761, describe the funding formulas for cash assistance. Cash reimbursement to States under this program is the product obtained by multiplying the number of meals served by maximum rates of reimbursement established by USDA. State agencies use the cash assistance to reimburse sponsors for eligible meals served to eligible children. Since all meals are served free, all meals of the same type are funded at the same rate. Rates are adjusted annually on January 1, to reflect changes in the 'Food Away from Home' series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Matching requirements are not applicable to this program. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is available for the period covered by the agreement. Summer EBT funds may be awarded to continue projects in summer 2017. Administrative funds may be awarded as two-year grants to support the demonstrations through the 2018 project year. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


Sponsors file monthly reports on program operations to claim reimbursement for meals served.

States must then submit final program reports to FNS no later than 90 days after the claiming month.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

No expenditure reports are required.

No performance monitoring is required.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in OMB Circular No. A-133.


Sponsors must maintain full and accurate records of Program operations for a period of 3 years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain. However, where there are unresolved audit findings, records must be retained until there is satisfactory resolution of all audit issues.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Formula Grants) FY 16 $539,938,000; FY 17 est $589,701,000; and FY 18 est $639,789,000 - Summer Food Service Program. (Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 16 $0; FY 17 est $0; and FY 18 est $0 - Summer Food Service Program Non-Congregate Demonstration. (Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 16 $25,218,000; FY 17 est $22,957,000; and FY 18 est $22,957,000 - Summer EBT Demonstrations.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program regulations are codified at 7 CFR Part 225.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. See the FNS Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Cynthia Long, 3101 Park Center Drive Room 628, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. Phone: 703-305-2590.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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