State program reimburses groups that provide meals to low-income students

The application window is open for California’s Summer Food Service Program, which reimburses organizations that offer free meals to low-income children over summer vacation.

Schools, camps, nonprofits, tribal governments and government agencies that provide meals for children up through age 18 may submit their applications by June 1. The federally funded, state-administered program also benefits students who attend year-round schools and are out for 15 or more consecutive days.

Pupils collecting lunch“Providing nutritious meals to students during the school year helps students stay alert and focused in class,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “Making sure children have access to healthy food during the summer is just as critical. Those students will return to school in the fall ready to learn.”

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses sponsoring agencies that serve meals and snacks to children at state-approved locations where at least 50 percent of kids qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The sponsors may prepare food on their own or obtain it from another sponsor, vendor or department, and all meals must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.

For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program Information web page at