Each year, Bay Area Food Bank partners with numerous sites to serve children meals through it’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) when school is out and students no longer have access to free and reduced price meals. The food bank is currently looking for sites to help host the program in Florida. Last year, Bay Area Food Bank had 24 sites in the state of Florida participate in SFSP. This year, the food bank is looking to increase that number by partnering with additional programs or facilities where children tend to congregate. This could include, but is not limited to, summer camps, sports programs, community centers, libraries, and churches.
The federally funded program is offered by the food bank to sites at no cost. Participating sites will receive complete and nutritionally balanced meals delivered daily. Sites may serve up to two meals per day with a choice of breakfast and/or lunch. To qualify, sites must be located in an area where 50 percent or more of the children are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, be open to all children (18 years old and younger), and attend a food bank training class prior to the start of the program. Interested sites must register by Friday, April 11.
“Over 48,000 children in our seven county service area are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from,” says Bay Area Food Bank’s Child Nutrition Coordinator Leah Weber.
For the 2011-2012 school year it was reported that in Florida over 1.2 million food insecure children benefited from the National School Lunch Program, whereas only around 141,000 (11.6 percent) of those children indicated participation in the SFSP. Florida also ranks as one of the states with the highest child food insecurity rates in the nation with 28.4 percent of children classified as food insecure. “The Summer Food Service Program is vital to filling the hunger gap while school is out,” says Weber.
To learn more about the food bank’s SFSP contact Child Nutrition Coordinator, Leah Weber, at email@example.com or 626-1332, or visit www.bayareafoodbank.org.