May 24, 2015

What is SFSP?

Welcome to Summer Meals Illinois’ blog! We are so excited that you are here. You may be thinking: “Free Meals? No way!” Yes way. SFSP stands for Summer Food Service Program and it provides free meals over the summer to kids less than 18 years of age. A community is eligible for an SFSP site if more than 50% of the population in that area is over the poverty line. At meal sites, children can receive a healthy meal in a safe place to eat and build friendships. Food, Friends, and Fun!  Many sites also offer educational activities and games.

There are open sites and closed sites for free meals. Open sites are meal sites where anyone under the age of 18 can get a free meal. There is no fee, no sign-up, and no proof of identity or legal status required. You just walk in and grab a meal! Closed sites are meal sites that require sign-up and sometimes require a small fee to participate throughout the summer. These can include summer camps or other programming that you have to register for.

<strong>But why do we need summer meals?</strong> Throughout the school year, 825,000 kids in Illinois receive free or reduced priced lunch and breakfast. The 2013 Summer Meals Survey by Share Our Strength found that low-income families spent as much as $316 more in the summer months to feed their children, and it makes it pretty tough for families to stretch already-strained food budgets. Summer Meals sites provide both educational activities and nutritious meals to help families make their food budgets work over the summer!

To find a site near you, TEXT FOODIL to 877-877, CALL (800) 359-2163, or download the new Range app (http://www.caravanstudios.org/#!range/c1ht6) from Caravan Studios on your smart phone!

Keep up-to-date on success stories and other Summer Meals information by following us on facebook: SummerMealsIllinois or twitter: @SummerMealsIL.

We hope to see you at a Summer Meals site this summer!

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