Skip to main content


Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

Summer Food Service Program Sponsors
Paula Tyner-Doyle, Coordinator
Friday, November 23, 2012
Summer Feeding Options for School Food Authorities

The purpose of this memorandum is to present the options available to school food authorities (SFA) for feeding children in the summer months through the Child Nutrition Programs administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). This memorandum also describes the simplified application and review procedures now available to SFAs participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) that wish to apply for participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Academic Summer School Programs

Schools offering academic summer school programs may be reimbursed for serving meals during the summer through the NSLP and SBP or the SFSP. Schools wishing to serve meals only to children enrolled in summer school programs may only receive reimbursement through the NSLP and SBP.

If, in addition to serving children enrolled in summer school, the school plans to serve children in the community at large, it may operate an open site through the SFSP as described below. However, the SFA must ensure that these sites are open not only to children enrolled in summer school, but to any children residing in the area served by the site.

Please note, schools that provide summer school programs are not allowed to enroll in the SFSP as a restricted open site instead of an open site, so that meals may be served only to summer school participants. This is not the intent of the restricted open site option and is not an unauthorized use of this site designation. The purpose of the restricted open designation in SFSP is to allow sponsors that want to operate an open site to restrict or limit site participation due to reasons of space, security, safety, or control.

Schools Serving Community Children

If an SFA plans to offer summer meals to the community, the SFA may participate in the SFSP as a sponsor. The SFSP allows SFAs to feed children in low-income areas during the traditional summer vacation periods and school vacation periods longer than 15 days. Under the SFSP, SFAs may sponsor school and non-school sites.

Open sites must be located within the attendance area of a school where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price school meals, based on NSLP school meal data or census data, in order to qualify as area eligible. Sites that are not area eligible may operate as closed enrolled sites if at least 50 percent of the children enrolled at the site are approved for free or reduced price school meals.

Application Requirements

Under the SFSP, sponsors must be able to demonstrate financial and administrative capability for Program operations. Typically, SFAs participating in the NSLP and/or SBP have already demonstrated that they have the financial and administrative capability necessary to operate the NSLP. Therefore, SFAs currently in good standing in NSLP or SBP are not required to submit further evidence of financial and administrative capability. An SFA is considered to be in good standing if it has been reviewed during the previous 12 months and had no significant deficiencies. However, the New York State Education Department has the discretion to deny the applications or, at a minimum, require additional evidence of financial and administrative capability from SFAs that have had significant problems operating the NSLP or SBP.

SFAs applying to operate the SFSP at the same sites where they provide meal services through the NSLP may follow the application requirements for experienced SFSP sponsors and sites. However, these SFAs also will need to provide the following information:

  • Whether the site is rural or non-rural.
  • Whether the site’s food service will be self-prepared or vended. 
  • If a migrant site, certification from a migrant organization that the site serves children of migrant worker families and that it primarily serves migrant children if it also serves migrant children if it also serves non-migrant children; and
  • If a homeless site, information demonstration the site is not a residential child care institution, description of the method used to ensure that no cash payments or other in-kind services are used for meal service, and certification that the site only claims meals served to children.

Experienced SFA Monitoring Requirements

SFSP sponsors are required to visit each of their sites at least once during the first week of operation under the Program. The New York State Education Department (SED) may waive the first week of operation visit requirement for SFAs in good standing as described above. However, SFAs must ensure that a monitoring review is conducted within the first four weeks of site operations at each site under their sponsorship. Sponsors should refer to their annual Sponsor Profile/Renewal for SED’s waiver of the first week visit and deadlines for completion of monitoring reviews.

Tribal Participation

As detailed in previous guidance, Tribal governments are typically recognized as a “public entity” or “local government” and are therefore eligible to participate in the SFSP as a sponsor [SFSP14-2012: Tribal Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program, July 24, 2012, Program and the Summer Food Service Program, July 24, 2012]. Tribal Grant schools and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools are eligible to participate as SFSP sites just as any other public school, assuming other eligibility requirements are met. Tribal Grant schools and BIE schools and dormitories that administer the NSLP also are eligible to administer the SSO, regardless of whether the school is Tribal Grant or BIE operated. 

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted 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; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.