Hunger does not take a summer vacation! Families say, on average, their grocery bills are about $300 higher every month when kids are out of school; free summer meals can help. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as Summer Lunch, is a federally funded program that reimburses community organizations that provide free, nutritious meals to children 18 years of age and younger.
Although the number of families struggling to put food on the table has recently decreased with greater use of CalFresh, many California counties report high levels of food insecurity. Summer Lunch can play a critical role in alleviating hunger among children in low-income neighborhoods.
Summer Lunch can boost local economies, too. If California served Summer Lunch to all 2.1 million eligible children, communities statewide would draw about $150,000 more in federal funding. In 2018, only 15% of California children and youth participating in school lunch during the school year were able to benefit from the summer meal program.
WIC Can Help families stretch their food dollars so children can enjoy nutritious meals during the long summer months.
What Local Agencies Can Do:
- Find out where Summer Lunch is served in your area
For sites in California, use the county-by-county directory of Summer Lunch sites. Many 2018 sites will continue in 2019, but be sure to verify locally.
For sites across the US, visit the USDA/FNS Summer Meal Site Finder.
Parents can text FOOD (for English) or COMIDA (for Spanish) to 877-877 to find a site near them.
- Tell WIC families about Summer Lunch.
Download community outreach materials and find other CA Dept. of Education resources including family flyers in 17 languages. Or post full-color USDA flyers (English & Spanish only).
Show short videos in multiple languages that promote Summer Lunch in waiting rooms or other areas (sent to all California WIC Agencies in summer 2013 and linked below).
- Consider offering Summer Lunch at WIC sites.
The USDA Summer Food Service web pages have all the resources you need to become a sponsor. Contact CWA if you’d like to speak to a California local WIC agency that successfully offers Summer Lunch. Use the following resources to become a sponsor or at least spread the word to WIC families.
Summer Meals Toolkit (USDA) – featuring info on how to become a sponsor, plan meals, create partnerships, and raise awareness using flyers, postcards, bookmarks, yard signs, PSAs, social media messages, training videos, and much more!
Summer Meals Webinar & Video archives (USDA) – multiple topics still applicable for 2019.