Summer Food Service Program

In 2016, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provided meals to 2.8 million children each day at 47,981 sites during the program's peak month of July. SFSP served more than 153 million meals and snacks at a cost to USDA of $472 million in fiscal 2016, primarily during summer vacation.

SFSP sites are administered by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and include schools, camps, parks, playgrounds, housing projects, community centers, churches, and other public sites where children gather in the summer. Sites are eligible to offer free USDA-funded meals and snacks:

  • If the sites operate in areas where at least half of the children come from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty level, or
  • If more than half of the children served by the site meet this income criterion (see FNS's Summer Food Service Program).

Many low-income children also obtain free meals while school is out through the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs (see FNS's School Meals).