Commissioner Miller Encourages Organizations to Apply for 2016 Summer Nutrition Programs (1/19/2016)

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is accepting applications for its 2016 summer nutrition programs. These programs help feed children who do not have access to nutritious meals when schools close for summer.

“No child deserves to go hungry just because school is out for the summer,” Commissioner Miller said. “Each year in communities across Texas, TDA partners with organizations to connect children in need with the good nutrition that will help them have a healthy summer and return to school in the fall ready to learn. I encourage any eligible organization to join us in the effort to help feed young Texans.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 17 percent of Texas households are considered food insecure, meaning every member of the household does not have consistent access to good nutrition. In partnership with USDA, TDA administers two federally funded programs to help address childhood hunger in the summer months. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides schools, nonprofit summer camps, governmental entities and other nonprofit organizations such as churches with the opportunity to serve meals to children across Texas. Schools have the option of participating in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or SFSP, which allows them to continue meal service after the academic year ends.

Organizations partner with TDA to serve meals at sites in designated areas, such as areas where more than 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program. Meals will be provided to individuals age 18 and under without charge, as well as adults over the age of 18 who are determined by a state or local educational agency to have a mental or physical disability and who participate in a public or private school program established for people with mental or physical disabilities.

All meal sites must be sponsored by an organization that has a contract with TDA. Approved SSO and SFSP sponsors, operating in accordance with federal and state regulations, will be reimbursed for meals served to children. All new and returning sponsors are required to take training courses before participating in the SFSP. Some applications may require additional review, and sponsors are encouraged to visit www.summerfood.org to determine if their organization falls into this category. The SFSP application deadline for new sponsors and those requiring more thorough review is April 15, 2016. All other returning sponsors must apply by May 1, 2016. The deadline for all SSO applications is May 31, 2016.

For more information about TDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs, visit www.summerfood.org.