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Education department now accepting applications for summer food service program sites

The New York State Education Department is accepting applications for the 2019 Summer Food Service Program, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. Eligible programs include public or nonpublic nonprofit school food authorities; all local, county, municipal, or state governmental entities; Indian tribal territories, migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; faith-based organizations and camps interested and eligible in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

“Summer food programs offer families a sense of security, knowing their children will benefit from a regular breakfast and lunch even when students are not in school,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “No child should go hungry and summer meal programs are helping to fight food insecurity for children and families across New York.”

“We are proud that New York’s summer food service program is the largest in the country, but we want even more children to be able to find nutritious meals during the summer months,” Commissioner Elia said. “I encourage all eligible programs to apply and to find innovative ways to offer meals to children who may otherwise go hungry.”

Approximately 400,000 free meals are served daily to New York State children through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which will operate this summer throughout New York State from June 17 through September 2, 2019.

The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children, 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level and the New York State Education Department (SED) administers it at the State level.

Sponsors are organizations that are fully capable of managing a food service program and agree and assure to serve meals to any eligible child in accordance with Federal Law, USDA policy, guidance and instructions including federal civil rights laws, regulations and policies.

Organizations that provide meals to children during the school year, such as schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and organizations that participate in the at-risk afterschool meal component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program are well positioned to offer summer meals. SED encourages these organizations to participate in the Summer Food Service Program to establish a year-round presence in the communities in which they serve.

To serve the eligible children in their communities, sponsors must verify that the site where they plan to serve meals is located in an area where at least half the resident children are from households with incomes at or below the eligibility level for free or reduced price school meals. In most instances, current year school data provides the most accurate economic status of a particular community. Potential and existing sponsors can request data from the schools or from the SED to determine eligible program sites.

Summer Food Service Program sponsors receive federal and State reimbursement for each meal served to a child, according to predetermined reimbursement rates. SED will hold training workshops in March and April for sponsors planning to participate in summer 2019.

Potential new sponsors may obtain a paper application and additional information by contacting the New York State Education Department, Child Nutrition Program Administration, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 486-1086. Email is also available at

In accordance with federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

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