Summer Meals

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Break

Many Ohio families cannot provide consistent access to healthy food for their children, particularly during summer break. Only 1 in 10 children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year also access summer meals. Summer break increases food insecurity and can lead to learning loss in low-income children. Children are at greater risk of hunger and are more likely to experience weight gain during the summer due to loss of balanced school meals and poor nutrition.

Many organizations offer summer enrichment programs, whether at open sites such as recreation centers or libraries, or enrolled sites such as camps. Yet, the cost of providing healthy meals can strain budgets. The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) enables approved organizations to be reimbursed when the meals served meet USDA requirements, and children attending eligible summer programs are in low-income areas.

Through the Summer Food Service Program Children’s Hunger Alliance provides healthy meals to summer programs across the state including those run by schools, churches, parks and recreation centers, libraries, and other youth-serving organizations. Children’s Hunger Alliance covers the cost of the meals and coordinates the logistics of food preparation and delivery so that summer programs can focus time and resources directly on the students they serve.

As a sponsored program, Children’s Hunger Alliance will provide:
• Training summer program staff in record keeping and federal regulations.
• Ensuring delivery of nutritious meals
• Assisting summer programs in implementation and ongoing support of the nutrition program.
• Expanding food access opportunities for children.
• Managing fiscal and administrative responsibilities of the nutrition program, including covering the costs of meals.

Vendors contracted by Children’s Hunger Alliance will prepare food and deliver individual, pre-portioned meals. In areas where cold food
delivery by a vendor isn’t possible, a fully shelf-stable menu is available. All menus meet or exceed USDA nutritional requirements and
consist of the following components:
• Meat/meat alternative
• Fruits and Vegetables
• Whole grains/bread
• Milk

Shelf-stable food is also provided as a back-up supply for programs should cold food delivery be interrupted, or if additional meals are
needed due to fluctuating attendance.

Children’s Hunger Alliance recognizes that your staff’s primary focus is on your program’s activities, so we strive to minimize your food-
related obligations.

You simply agree to:
• Attend training before food service begins.
• Place a standing food order with our team and adjust as attendance or enrollment fluctuates.
• Accept food deliveries and ensure meals adhere to proper temperatures (if applicable)
• Serve the meals at a consistent time each day.
• Create a share table so unopened food can be shared with children who would like a second helping.
• Record the number of meals served and submit these records to Children’s Hunger Alliance.

Children’s Hunger Alliance also assists schools and other community partners in establishing or expanding summer food service
opportunities in their communities. Schools that are currently participating in the USDA’s National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program may be eligible to participate in either the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and offer
free healthy meals for students during summer break. Staff can assist with:

• Free expert guidance to help organizations enroll in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program
(SFSP) or the Seamless Summer Option* (SSO) for schools.
• Marketing assistance to increase awareness and participation in summer meal programs.
• Consulting on best practices to enhance summer meal programs.

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