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About the NYS Summer Food Service Program

The Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at the federal level, while the New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers the program at the state level. Locally, it is operated by sponsors who apply for, and are approved, to operate the program. Free meals are often served at community centers, parks, libraries and schools.

Eligibility for the NYS Summer Food Program

Children 18 years of age and younger are eligible to participate in the SFSP. Persons over 18 years old who are physically or mentally disabled and participating in a public or nonprofit private school program established for children with these disabilities may also participate in this program.

Most summer meal sites are “open sites,” which means they are open to the community and do not require that children sign up in advance or even “check-in” at the site. Children and teens must simply show up at the site to get their meal. However, some residential and day camps do require registration in advance. It’s best to check with your local site operator to see what they require. Parents are not required to give any personal information about their children to site operators in order for the child to receive a free meal.

New York State’s Summer Food Service Program supplements the meals that children receive during the school year. Regardless of what other assistance a family may receive, open summer meal sites will provide meals for children. Sponsors prepare and distribute meals based on the number of children and teens that come to their sites. They are reimbursed by USDA for these meals, so if there is an increase in attendance at the site, the sponsors can plan to provide more meals the next day.

Kids and teens can enjoy a healthy meal during the summer.