Summer Food Service Program

SFSP pageThe Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded meals program available to children and teens 18 and under when school is out for the summer. Many students in Minnesota rely on the meals they receive in school as their primary source of nutrition; during summer break, instead of an enjoyable time away from school, these students often struggle to find enough to eat. Fortunately, the SFSP is available to ALL students, regardless of income, which provides an opportunity for nutrition, socializing, and positive enrichment during summer months.

Organizations can participate and support in various ways. Sponsors (schools, community nonprofits) administer the program at a community level by providing food, management, and compliance oversight to meal sites throughout the community (schools, libraries, rec centers, etc.) where kids can go to access meals. Organizations not directly involved, but that serve families and youth, are encouraged to share information on the program with their clients.

How does the program work?

sfsp program overview

How SHH supports SFSP

Second Harvest Heartland encourages the growth of the SFSP by supporting Program Sponsor across our service area. We offer grant support, technical assistance, networking and resource facilitation, and consultation. For Summer 2020, SHH will be offering a suite of outreach resources for sponsors to use in promoting their programs to participants and the public, up to advocating for the program to elected officials. Check back soon for more information!

Interested in starting, expanding, or supporting a meal site?

Becoming a sponsor of the SFSP allows you to provide free meals to youth 18 and under, for which your organization receives reimbursement per meal. While optional, sponsors and their meal sites are encouraged to offer activities and enrichment to make meal sites more exciting for youth. Even if your organization cannot participate in a meal site by hosting, please share information on other meal sites to the youth and families you serve!

For further information on the program, best practices on topics such as transportation and meal service, guidelines from the USDA, and more, please refer to our SFSP Resources Page.

Funding Opportunities

Second Harvest Heartland, in partnership with Share Our Strength, is pleased to offer grant funding at an average of $5,000 to support growth in summer meals programming and participation. This grant is available to new and returning SFSP and NSLP Summer Meals Program Sponsors in Second Harvest Heartland’s Service Area. Funds must be applied to sites that operate as “open.”

Details on the 2020 SFSP summer grant cycle will be announced March 2020. If you have any questions, please contact grant staff at

For more details on the SFSP grant, and information on our breakfast and CACFP grants, please refer to our Funding Opportunities Page.

Creative Use of Funds from Previous Second Harvest Heartland Sponsors

  • Reading books handed out for activities, prizes, or for attendance.
    • SOS partners with  First Book to make new, low-cost books available to children at summer and afterschool meal programs. Books can be purchased through the First Book Marketplace year-round, but check the Sponsor Center Homepage for information about current promotions.
  • Punch cards for attendance (get 10 punches and receive a prize)
  • Ice cream socials
  • Crafting supplies
  • Food & Fitness (offering Zumba, yoga, or other fitness classes after a meal to keep kids onsite)
  • Partnering with police department for a neighborhood night out
  • Mobile app Nutrislice
  • Postage for flyers
  • Flyers to put in grocery store or dollar store shopping bags
  • Walking map flyers
  • Flyers with pictures of food served or menus
  • Bus transportation from community programs to SFSP site
  • Food truck costs
  • Stipends for student labor (interns, college & high school students)
  • Partner with the local radio station to announce the daily menu
  • Post “Free Meal Coming Soon” weeks before starting the program to build awareness early
  • Similar to an ice cream truck, have the mobile meal bus play music when arriving at a SFSP site

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