Sponsors needed to serve meals during summer food program

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Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is seeking eligible organizations to sponsor the Summer Food Service Program in their communities. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides access to healthy meals to children during the summer months when school is out.

The program reimburses non-profit, governmental, and other eligible organizations for providing free meals to children in low-income areas during the summer months. The following entities can qualify as sponsors: public or private nonprofit schools; universities, colleges or camps; units of local and state government; private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations considered tax exempt by the IRS. Sponsors can operate the program and feed children at various sites such as schools, churches, recreation centers, community and migrant centers, and other areas where children congregate. Mobile meal sites are also an option for sponsors – particularly in rural areas of the state.

“The Summer Food Service Program is critically important in combating childhood hunger during the summer,” said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs. “Sponsoring organizations ensure children across the state have access to nutritious and well-balanced meals during the summer months when school is not in session. Without the work of these community-based organizations, many children may not receive the healthy meals they need.”

DECAL is focusing on boosting the number of sponsors participating in the program, particularly in South Georgia, where program participation has been historically lower than participation in the metro Atlanta area.

Sponsors receive training and support relating to the application process and nutrition education. They also receive technical assistance while the program is operating. For more information about the SFSP, contact Shani Drake, marketing and outreach manager, at Shani.Drake@decal.ga.gov or 404-656-3221.

For more information on becoming an SFSP sponsor, visit DECAL’s website at http://www.decal.ga.gov/BftS/SFSPBecomingASponsor.aspx or contact the SFSP team toll free at 1-855-550-SFSP (7377) or via e-mail at SFSP@decal.ga.gov.

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