Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-03001) 419 pp

March 2003

Feeding Low-Income Children When School Is Out-The Summer Food Service Program: Final Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), funds meals for children in low-income areas when school is not in session. The first comprehensive study of the SFSP since 1986 found that, in fiscal year 2001, more than 4,000 local sponsors provided about 130 million meals at more than 35,000 feeding sites. The number of children served in July 2001 (2.1 million per day) was about 14 percent of the number who received free or reduced-price school meals each day during the previous school year. On average, SFSP meals provided the levels of key nutrients recommended for school meals. However, breakfasts were slightly lower in food energy than recommended, and lunches were higher in fat. Half the SFSP sponsors were school districts, which operated about half the sites and served about half the meals. Other sponsors included government agencies, private nonprofit organizations, and residential camps. The nationally representative study, which was sponsored by USDA's Economic Research Service, surveyed State administrators, sponsor staff, and site staff on program operations and on factors that affect participation.

Keywords: Summer Food Service Program, SFSP, child nutrition programs, nutrient content, plate waste, low income, school meals

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