Summer Food Program Sponsors Sought in Rural, Distressed Counties
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is announcing its participation in the 2023 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the opening of this year’s application period. The goal of the Summer Food Service Program is to ensure children 18 and younger, who benefit from meal programs at school, continue to have that same access to nutritious meals when school is out for the summer.
Each year TDHS partners with sponsors across the state to provide summer meals. The program traditionally runs from the end of May to August when the next school semester begins. In 2022, by partnering with 45 program sponsors across about 1,200 meal sites, approximately 1.8 million meals were served through the Summer Food Service Program.
This need is especially important in rural counties in Tennessee and those designated as distressed. TDHS is striving to recruit more sponsors willing to serve rural counties and additional sponsors for every county in the state to help their communities.
“TDHS appreciates the many partners we have each summer who share our commitment to get meals into the hands of children that need them,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter. “Collectively, we have room to grow, and a greater impact to make. I invite organizations that are interested in joining this important effort to reach out to us to learn more and to apply to serve meals.”
Organizations, governmental institutions, schools, and religious entities interested in learning more about becoming SFSP sponsors are encouraged to visit the TDHS website to learn more about the program. Applications are currently available, and technical support is provided by TDHS staff. Sponsor applications will be accepted until May 1. If your organization is interested in becoming a SFSP sponsor or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor, please contact the department by e-mail at TNSFSP.DHS@tn.gov.
In addition to children of school age, adults 19 and older with a mental or physical disability are eligible to receive free meals if they participate in a school program established for individuals with disabilities during the prior school year. As summer nears, parents interested in finding a Summer Food Service Program feeding location near them are encouraged to contact the TDHS Summer Food Service Program main line at 615-313-4749, their local school, or visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids. For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, please visit https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/children/dhs-nutrition-programs/learn-about-the-summer-food-service-program.html.