Summer Food Service Program helps kids return to school healthy and ready to learn

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.

In Montana

  • In summer 2018, approximately 10,400 kids ate summer meals on average each day – an increase of 6% compared to the nearly 9,800 kids who participated each day in summer 2017.
  • Hosted by 89 sponsors, 249 sites served meals across 38 counties – an increase of 13 sites compared to summer 2017.
  • Sponsors served 700,730 meals to kids in 2018 – an increase of 11% compared to 632,654 meals served in 2017.
  • Unfortunately, summer food only reached 23% of the nearly 45,800 Montana students who ate free or reduced price (FRP) lunch in the previous school year.

MFBN works to increase access to and participation in the Summer Food Service Program throughout Montana. We analyze and disseminate participation data to community members and policy makers. We also provide outreach materials to all of our partner agencies and other service providers, including OPAs, WIC clinics, health centers, and many others to ensure that families know how to find feeding site. Through Child Nutrition Reauthorization and other legislative opportunities, we advocate for policies that protect this important program and help it work better in our state.

FIND A SITE NEAR YOU

Beginning in May each year, the USDA posts information on open sites. To find a site near you, text SUMMER MEALS to 97779 or visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks.

SHARE SUMMER FOOD FLYERS

Beginning in May each year, please join us in reaching more families by posting or handing out flyers with information on how to find summer meal sites. Download our flyer here.

START A FOOD SITE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Does your community have a Summer Food site? Could it use one? Here are resources to get started:

  1. Montana Office of Public Instruction. The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) administers SFSP in Montana. For information on how to sponsor a Summer Food site, contact Kim Lloyd, OPI Summer Food Service Program Manager at (406) 444-0772 or email [email protected].
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, including regulations for sponsorship and establishing sites, visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program.
  3. Montana No Kid Hungry. Montana No Kid Hungry provides support, including occasional grant funding, to Summer Food sites. For more information, contact Summer Meals and Nutrition Coordinator, Danielle Anderson at [email protected] or (406) 765-3430.

For more information about Summer Food in Montana contact Seanna Pieper-Jordan, Public Policy Coordinator.

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