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Summer Food Service

Many children participate in school breakfast, lunch, the fresh fruit and vegetable program, and after school snack. However, in the summer they lose access to those nutritious school meals. Hunger in the summertime contributes to “Summer Learning Loss” and obesity, and prevents children from enjoying their summer break. Summer Meal Programs bridge the gap between school years, giving children, age 18 and under, the fuel they need to play and grow throughout the summer and return to school ready to learn.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is federally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state-administered by the Vermont Agency of Education Child Nutrition Programs. The program consists of sponsors who are administratively and fiscally responsible for the program and the sites where meals are served and consumed. Program sponsors can be supervisory unions or school districts, government entities, camps, or private, non-profit organizations. Reimbursement is based on the number of eligible meals served multiplied by a rate, established by the USDA. Rural and self-operated sites are supported by a higher level of reimbursement.

Program Guidance

FNS Instruction 796-4, Rev. 4 Financial Management – Summer Food Service Program for Children

FNS Instruction 782-4 Rev. 2 Approval of Child Care Institutions for the Summer Food Service Program

USDA-FNS Policy Memos

USDA Summer Meals Newsletters 

USDA Memos:

For Information on Receiving Meals

Call 2-1-1, the United Way-run resource hotline, or go to the USDA Meals For Kids Site Finder.  

All sites listed are open to all children, 18 and under. Information is available mid-June and any necessary changes are made on a weekly basis.

Requirements for Vermont Schools under Vermont Summer Meals Law

16 V.S.A. § 1264 requires public schools that operate the National School Lunch Program to operate a summer meals program if they have at least 50% or more students eligible for free and reduced-price meals in any month in the preceding school year and offer some kind of educational or recreational program or camp for 15 or more hours a week during the summer. To find out your school’s eligibility percentage, please see the most recent Free and Reduced Eligibility Report.

Summer 2023 Summary

In summer 2023, Vermont served almost 650,000 meals at 265 sites across the state. There are sites in every county, from the Northeast Kingdom down to Southern Vermont, and from Burlington and the islands of Lake Champlain over to the Upper Valley.

Best Practices

Sponsor-Level Monitoring Forms