Ohio Department of Education and Workforce Announces Summer Food Service Program
Release date: 1/23/2024
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Director Stephen D. Dackin announced the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce is seeking local nonprofit agencies to participate as sponsors or sites for this year’s Summer Food Service Program to increase participation in summer meal programs. The Summer Food Service Program ensures children ages 1-18 continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer break from school, when they do not have access to school breakfast or lunch. In summer 2023, Ohio summer program sponsors served more than 5 million meals at more than 2,000 sites across the state.
Through the program, free meals are provided at schools, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, parks, camps, community centers, swimming pools, libraries, low-income housing complexes, and more. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursement to cover the costs of providing nutritious meals and snacks to children in eligible areas. Nonprofit organizations offering summer activities for children living in low-income areas also are encouraged to apply.
“We want our children to be focused, ready, and excited to learn throughout the year and having nutritious foods is critical to this,” said Stephen D. Dackin, director of the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. “Ohio is focused on student wellness and being able to provide healthy meals to children through the Summer Food Service Program means they are fueled for learning and ready to grow, explore, and discover during the summer months.”
The Department’s Summer Food Service Program site map is updated weekly during the summer months with all approved open and restricted open sites. Summer camps or closed enrolled sites may require a free meal application using the USDA Secretary's family-size and income standards for reduced price school meals labeled “SFSP Income Eligibility Standards.” A foster child and children who are members of households receiving SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits at eligible camp and closed enrolled sites. Meals are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
In summer 2023, Summer Food Service Program sponsors provided meals to children in 79 Ohio counties. Expansion of the program is particularly needed in southern Ohio counties, where families struggle with food insecurity, as well as in rural communities and areas where migrant families reside.
A sponsoring organization must be one of the following:
- Public or nonprofit private school;
- Public or nonprofit private residential summer camp;
- Unit of local, municipal, county or state government;
- Public or nonprofit college or university; or
- Private nonprofit organization.
The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the USDA and administered by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. Children with disabilities and approved individualized education programs may participate through age 21.
Any organization interested in becoming a sponsor or site should complete the potential sponsor survey
. Potential sponsors interested in participating in the 2024 program should complete the survey no later than Monday, April 1.
Guidance about the Summer Food Service Program public notice requirement at 7 CFR 225.6(a)(2)
The public notice requirement under 7 CFR 225.6(a)(2) states that "By February 1 of each fiscal year, each State agency shall announce the purpose, eligibility criteria, and availability of the Program throughout the State, through appropriate means of communication,"
Notification to the community. Each sponsor must annually announce in the media serving the area from which it draws its attendance the availability of free meals. Sponsors of camps and closed enrolled sites must notify participants of the availability of free meals and if a free meal application is needed, as outlined in paragraph (f) of this section. For sites that use free meal applications to determine individual eligibility, notification to enrolled children must include: the Secretary's family-size and income standards for reduced price school meals labeled “SFSP Income Eligibility Standards;” a statement that a foster child and children who are members of households receiving SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF benefits are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits at eligible program sites; and a statement that meals are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. State agencies may issue a media release for all sponsors operating SFSP sites in the State as long as the notification meets the requirements in this section.
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ad-3027.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
(833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or