Summer Food Service Program
In 2012, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provided meals to more than 2.3 million children each day at 38,845 sites during the program's peak month of July. SFSP served about 144 million meals and snacks at a cost to USDA of more than $398 million in fiscal 2012, primarily during summer vacation.
ERS conducted a national study of the SFSP in 2001. The study found that:
- The number of children served in July 2001 (the peak month for SFSP participation) was about 14 percent of the number who received free or reduced-price school meals each day during the school year.
- Most (58 percent) were elementary-school age children, but 17 percent of attendees were preschoolers and 25 percent were older children.
- Almost all sites (93 percent) also offered activities, such as organized games or sports, supervised free play, educational activities, and arts and crafts.
Two reports on Feeding Low-Income Children When School Is Out—The Summer Food Service Program have been published. The Executive Summary reports major study findings. The Final Report provides more extensive information on the characteristics of sponsors, sites, and participating children; the nutritional content of meals served; and program operations and outreach.