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January 30, 2018
For More Information Contact:

JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Education Department Announces Summer Food Service Program

Urges Schools, Government Agencies, Nonprofit Groups, Indian Tribal Territories, Migrant Programs and Camps to Apply

Program Provides 400,000 Free Meals Daily to New York State Children

The New York State Education Department is accepting applications for the 2018 Summer Food Service Program from public or nonpublic, nonprofit school food authorities; all local, county, municipal, or state governmental entities; Indian tribal territories, migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; and camps interested and eligible in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

"It’s a sad reality, but there are many children who don't always get the healthy meals they need to thrive,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “The Summer Food Service Program helps build on the Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure that all students have healthy meals, not only when they’re in school, but all year round.”

“Children who eat healthy meals have a much greater chance for success in the classroom and in life,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “The Summer Food Service Program helps to fill the gaps when students are off for summer break, making sure they get the good nutrition they need all year round. I urge all eligible entities to apply to participate in this critically important program that does so much good for so many children.”

The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children, 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level and the New York State Education Department (SED) administers it at the State level.

In recent years, there have been significant changes to the Summer Food Service Program to allow greater flexibility in the use of program funds and lessen the burden for sponsors. The focus of this program is to serve more eligible children by encouraging new organizations to participate and by expanding existing programs to maximize capacity in providing adequate access to all eligible children in their communities.

Organizations that provide meals to children during the school year, such as schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and organizations that participate in the at-risk afterschool meal component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program are well positioned to offer summer meals. SED encourages these organizations to participate in the Summer Food Service Program to establish a year-round presence in the communities in which they serve.

About 400,000 free meals are served daily to New York State children through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which will operate this summer throughout New York State from June 18 through September 3, 2018.

To serve the eligible children in their communities, sponsors must verify that the site where they plan to serve meals is located in an area where at least half the resident children are from households with incomes at or below the eligibility level for free or reduced-price school meals. In most instances, current year school data provides the most accurate economic status of a particular community. Potential and existing sponsors can request data from the schools or from the SED to determine eligible program sites.  

Summer Food Service Program sponsors receive federal and State reimbursement for each meal served to a child, according to predetermined reimbursement rates. SED will hold training workshops in March and April for sponsors planning to participate in summer 2018.

Potential new sponsors may obtain an application and additional information by contacting the New York State Education Department, Child Nutrition Program Administration – by phone at (518) 486-1086, or by email at

All sponsors must agree to serve meals to any eligible child in accordance with federal law and USDA policy.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and 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 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.