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Mandy Minick

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(614) 728-5959

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Ohio Department of Education Press Releases

Ohio Department of Education Announces Summer Food Service Program

Release date: 1/29/2021

COLUMBUS, OHIO - To increase participation in summer meal programs, the Ohio Department of Education is seeking local nonprofit agencies to participate as sponsors or sites for this year’s Summer Food Service Program. The Summer Food Service Program ensures that 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 2020, Ohio served more than 53 million such meals through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nationwide waivers for the 2020 Summer Nutrition Programs 
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.
“The Summer Food Service Program helps provide children with healthy meals to fuel a summertime full of learning, growing and having fun,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “There are so many exciting things for children to experience during their summer break, and hunger shouldn’t be one of them.”
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:

  • A public or nonprofit private school;
  • A public or nonprofit private residential summer camp;
  • A unit of local, municipal, county or state government;
  • A public or nonprofit college or university; or
  • A private nonprofit organization.
The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the USDA and administered by the Ohio Department of Education. 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 2021 program should complete the survey no later than Friday, Feb. 26.
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" and communicating available waivers is an important aspect of the public notice.  Flexibilities around eligibility exist through June 30, 2021, as outlined by COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #60, which allows States the ability to operate open Summer Food Service Program sites in areas that are not located in "Areas in which poor economic conditions exist." The Summer Food Service Program sites also have the following meal service flexibilities, through June 30, 2021: FNS is working as quickly as possible to make a determination on any flexibilities that may be available after June 30, 2021. As more information becomes available, state agencies will be updated.

The Ohio Department of Education is a diverse team of passionate, education-focused professionals dedicated to fulfilling the vision established in Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s strategic plan for education. The vision is, “In Ohio, each child is challenged to discover and learn, prepared to pursue a fulfilling post-high school path and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society.” Ensuring this vision for each of Ohio’s 1.7 million students, in partnership with more than 240,000 educators across the state, is no small feat. Under the leadership of the superintendent of public instruction and governed by the State Board of Education, Department team members, in collaboration with a wide range of partners, are sharply focused on helping schools and districts continually improve to be the best they can for each child. Equity and impact are core to every program, service and action. The Department’s work is well regarded both in Ohio and nationally for being innovative, leading edge and forward looking. When the Department succeeds, students succeed, communities succeed and Ohio succeeds! 

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.  
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 
  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture 
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
  3. email:
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.