Or text Lunch to 877-877
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was created in 1975 as a way to serve nutritious meals to all children through age 18 during the summer months at approved meal sites in low-income areas. The SFSP is a federally funded program administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Montana Office of Public Instruction administers the program at the state level.
During the school year, many families rely on Free and Reduced-Price Schools Meals to help feed their children nutritious food and stretch their food budgets. For example, if a child eats breakfast and lunch every day at school that’s ten meals a week, per child, that parents don’t have to worry about providing. However, school is only in session nine months out of the year and many families find it difficult to pay for the additional meal costs when school is out. As a result, summer can mean hungry bellies and malnutrition for many kids across Montana. Kids that do not receive adequate nutrition over the summer months are at a disadvantage when school starts again in the fall.
The SFSP can help bridge the gap for many low-income families. By providing free, nutritious meals and opportunities for continued social and physical development during the summer, SFSP helps kids return to school healthy and ready to learn.
The Montana Food Bank Network works to increase the number of Summer Food sites across the state, as well as increase participation at current sites. In Montana:
Just 20% of the children receiving Free or Reduced-Priced School Lunch during the school year also receive Summer Food.
Free and Reduced-Priced Meals during the school year reach 42,000 low-income children in Montana, while just 8,500 receive free meals through the Summer Food Service Program.
As of summer 2015, 17 out of 56 counties in Montana had NO Summer Food site at all.
Interested in Starting a Summer Food Site or Promoting the Sites in your Community?
Find our free outreach materials, Summer Food resources, and other materials here.