Showing Love for Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a USDA program that helps fill the missing meal gap during the summer months for kids who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Second Harvest Heartland supports SFSP by building community awareness to increase participation and by providing capacity building grants to meal site sponsors. Last year, SFSP provided more than 2.33 million meals to kids at 716 sites (like schools, parks, community centers) throughout Minnesota during the summer months.
Kids, families and program administrators appreciate the program and the nourishment it provides to local kids in need. Read some of the love we recently received from a few of our SFSP grant recipients about their experiences with their summer food service programs.
“It was fun to see the students’ reaction to the wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. I believe this will be a huge step forward in planting the foundation for lifelong healthy eating habits for our students. Thanks again for your support!”
- Pam, Richfield Public Schools
“I take advantage of interacting with the kids as they are waiting in line to get their food. I always ask those that had breakfast to raise their hands…then I ask each one with a hand raised what they had. One little boy that I called on said his family doesn’t eat until it gets dark out. I knew then that we were doing the most good in his neighborhood. Another single mother said that the daily meal helps her make sure that her kids are receiving a healthy meal once a day.”
- Leslie, Salvation Army
“Many moms and dads have expressed their appreciation for this program, which has helped them get through the summer. But here is a story from one of our site supervisors that says it all: She shared that a young boy, about 11 or 12, occasionally knocked on her door. He would ask whether he could do any chores for her, such as taking out the garbage or walking her dog. In payment, he would request food and was happy with a sandwich or some left-over hot dish. While visiting with her neighbors, she discovered that the young boy checked in with other apartments, too, looking for work in exchange for food. This young boy now attends the summer lunch program and is able to obtain nutritious food without going door-to-door looking for work.”
- Ruth, The Yes Network
“Two new families have been coming in at least twice a week this summer. Both groups just moved here, and are amazed that this program exists. One mother told me, "Bless you all for having this.” They are sort of down on their luck right now, and were almost in tears the first time they came in. They were so grateful.”
- Lisa, Hopkins Public Schools
“We have had two rain days so far. Both days, the same eight boys came in the pouring rain to eat. We happily fed them and they kept thanking us for the food. If we would not have been there that day, they said they would not have been able to eat. And to me, that is what the program is for.”
- DeeAnn, Worthington Public Schools
“We would not have been able to provide busing for children if we had not gotten the grant from Second Harvest Heartland. The Chippewa Valley Youth Club was especially appreciative of the grant opportunity, as they would not have had access to our program had busing not been available! Thank you!”
- Debra, Montevideo Public Schools
“My favorite part of facilitating the Summer Food Service Program each year is the youth going against the stereotypical expectations in regard to their eating habits. We have middle school age youth in our site's enrolled summer program who have grown more comfortable eating the meal components that are "less cool,” such as salad. They are redefining for their peers that food is fuel and nutritious and if it tastes good, then it's cool! I also have been surprised and humbled by our participating youth's expression of gratitude to our chef and kitchen staff, which would not be present if we were a vended site. They give daily positive feedback of thanks to the chef, and if they particularly enjoy a meal's component they are not shy about letting the chef and team know! It is a beautiful cyclical exchange that is awesome to see. Our chef puts love into the meals; the kids enjoy them, are grateful, and show love back!”
- Rachel, Pillsbury United Communities
You can help feed more kids this summer. Visit 2harvest.org for more information on our Child Hunger Initiative.