Summer Food Service Program

One of the Child Nutrition Programs

What is the Summer Food Service Program?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as the Summer Meals Program, provides kids and teens in low-income areas free meals when school is out.The SFSP is a federally-funded, state-administered program. The SFSP provides reimbursement to sponsors who serve free, healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months when school is not in session.

Who does the program serve?

The SFSP serves children and teens age 18 and younger.Meals and snacks are also available to person with disabilities, over age 18 who still participate in K-12 education programs.

How does it work?

There are three main players involved: The Indiana Department of Education (DOE), program sponsors, and meal service sites.

  • DOE administers the program, offers annual training, and communicates with USDA.
  • Sponsors enter into an agreement with DOE to operate the program. Schools, local government agencies, camps, faith-based and other non-profit community organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program may be SFSP sponsors. Sponsors get reimbursed for meals served to eligible children. All meals must be eaten on site.
  • Meal service sites are DOE approved locations in the community where children receive meals in a safe and supervised environment. Meal sites may be located in a variety of settings, including schools, parks, community centers, health clinics, hospitals, apartment complexes, churches, and migrant centers. Sites work directly with sponsors.

How can your organization participate?

  1. Contact DOE to determine if you can become a site that serves summer meals. DOE will help confirm if you are located in an eligible area that can serve summer meals and connect you with a sponsor organization.
  2. Promote SFSP to your community. Flyers, yard signs, door hangers, and social media ads help inform the community where free summer meals are being served.
  3. Providing fun activities for the kids & teens at your site helps to keep them coming back and keeps them physically and mentally active. Reach out to local teens to get them involved and help them gain a sense of responsibility and new skills. They are also able to receive a free meal.


Tina Skinner

SFSP Specialist

Visit the IDOE SFSP webpage.