Summer Food Service Program
On this page...
Summer is an exciting time for children to enjoy time with friends, a week at camp, a family vacation or time at the pool. But for many children, summer can mean hunger. Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for good nutrition.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), administered by the Iowa Department of Education, provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. There are many summer food service program meal and snack sites across the state of Iowa, however the program is still vastly under-utilized.
Providing Meals Under SFSP During SY2020-21
As published in the October 9, 2020 USDA Nationwide Waivers, School Food Authorities (SFAs) may choose to provide meal service under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through June 30, 2021 or continue the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The following resources were sent via email to School Nutrition Directors and Authorized Representatives on September 4, 2020 to assist in making their determination.
Meal Pattern Resources
- Meal Pattern Requirements Chart
- Providing Multiple Meals at a Time
- Grain and Bread Chart
- Daily Meal Count Form
- Weekly Menu Planner
- Simplified Site Review Form
Food Safety Resources
- School Nutrition Back to School Food Safety Resource
- What School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers at Schools Need to Know about COVID-19
- Food Safety Regulatory Authorities (by county)
USDA COVID-19 Waivers, Q&As, and Resources
- Child Nutrition Waivers - collection of waivers issued by USDA during this public health emergency.
- Child Nutrition Q&As - series of question and answers on flexibilities and waivers.
- Team Nutrition Resources - provides an overview of child nutrition flexibilities.
USDA Waiver Requests - Public Notification
The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is seeking the following waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
Submitted and Approved USDA Waiver Requests
- Iowa Waiver Request – CNP Meal Service during a COVID-19 Outbreak: allows sponsors to provide non-congregate, reimbursable meals (i.e. Grab n’ Go).
- Iowa Waiver Request – Unanticipated School Closure: allows sponsors to operate at non-school sites during unanticipated school closures.
- Iowa Waiver Request – SFSP COVID-19 Non-Area Eligible Sites: allows Non-Eligible Sites to Operate the Summer Food Service Program During Unanticipated School Closures
- Iowa Waiver Request - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) - Parent Pick-up: allows parents and guardians to pick up FFVP snack along with SFSP meals.
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program - Alternate Site: allows the distribution of the FFVP snack at sites approved under SFSP, but may not be all FFVP schools.
Iowa Submitted USDA Waiver Requests
- SFSP Meal Pattern Requirements COVID-19 - Received
- Site Eligibility Requirements
- Non-Congregate SFSP
- Parent Pick-Up SFSP
SFSP Memoranda Rescission
The Department’s Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services submitted January 2020 four state-wide waivers to the USDA Midwest Regional Office (MWRO) for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) flexibilities and policies that were rescinded by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) through SFSP 01-2019 Summer Food Service Program Memoranda Rescission.
The goal of these waivers are to reinstate the rescinded flexibilities and policies to allow for efficient and cost effective program management and reduce administrative burden for sponsoring organizations and the Department’s Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services staff.
- Iowa Waiver Request - Meal Time Restrictions 2020 - Approved
- Iowa Waiver Request - Area Eligibility in Closed, Enrolled Sites 2020
- Iowa Waiver Request - Offer Versus Serve 2020
- Iowa Waiver Request - Site Monitoring 2020
Trainings for Program Sponsors
- Summer Food Service Program Informational Webinar - recorded on 02/19/20, this webinar provides an introduction to who can sponsor the SFSP, what is considered a site, who is eligible to participate, what meals can be served, how to obtain reimbursement for meals and allowable expenses.
- Summer Food Service Program Application Submission Webinar - recorded on 03/04/2020, this webinar provides information on applying to become a sponsor, required pre-approval documents, details of the permanent agreement, appeal rights and step by step instructions on how to complete the online application packet in the IowaCNP.
- Summer Food Service Program Sponsor Training Webinar Part 1 of 2 and Summer Food Service Program Sponsor Training Webinar Part 2 of 2 - recorded on 05/05/2020, this webinar provides details of sponsor responsibilities, including outreach, site determinations and oversight, internal monitoring, meal requirements, reimbursement, civil rights and program renewals and deadlines.
SFSP Tidbits Webinar Series
- Menu Planning and Meal Components - includes how to identify and define meal components, SFSP meal pattern requirements, menu documentation requirements, documentation of component contributions and identify best practices in menu planning.
- Program Administration and Monitoring - includes sponsor and staff training requirements, available training resources, sponsor monitoring requirements, allowable operating and administrative costs and Program record keeping requirements.
- Meal Service Requirements - includes identifying a reimbursable meal utilizing Offer vs. Serve. This webinar will also define meal service requirements including meal service times, congregate meal service model, allowable off-site meal options, point of service meal counting and adult consumption of meals.
- Food Safety Fundamentals - includes safe food handling practices with focus on worker health and personal hygiene, time and temperature controls and cleaning and sanitizing.
Resources for Program Sponsors
Interactive map directs people to local sites where kids can get free meals or call 211 or 1-866-3-HUNGRY, or text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877. Services are available in English and Spanish.
Meal Site Eligibility
Summer Food Service Program meal sites operate as "open," "closed enrolled," or "camp" sites.
- Open sites operate in low-income areas where half or more of the children are from households with income at or below 185% of the Federal poverty guidelines. Meals are provided at no charge to all children at the open site.
- Closed Enrolled sites provide meals only to children who are enrolled in an activity program, such as a day camp at the site. In order for an enrolled site to participate in the program, at least 50% of the children must be from households with incomes at or below 185% of the poverty level.
- Residential camps and nonresidential camps may participate regardless of the location and are reimbursed only for eligible participants.
Utilize the following resources to help determine site eligibility:
- USDA Summer Meals Toolkit - designed for individuals and organizations interested in serving as Summer Meal champions in their communities at any level of program administration. The outreach materials can be utilized to promote summer food service program sites in and/or around the communities you serve.
- USDA Raise Awareness - resources include templates for flyers, postcards, bookmarks and business cards.
- Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit - Share Our Strength has developed this toolkit to help your organization work with the media to promote summer meals programs as well as outreach materials that you can tailor with tips to use in your community.