The Illinois State Board of Education “Summer Food Service Program” aims to provide nutritious meals to children during summer months when school is not in session and is once again seeking organizations as sponsors to host the meals.
Amanda Simhauser with the state board of education says meals would be served during a supervised time period.
“Those sites can include schools or parks or housing projects, churches, summer camps, recreation centers. Schools may help sponsors get the word out to students in the community about available programs,” she says. “Most summer food program sites are open to all children in the community, but some sites do only serve meals to those children enrolled in a specific program, say, a specific summer camp or something like that.”
Simhauser says sites need to meet eligibility requirements.
“Normally, our staff looks to the closest elementary school to the actual physical site, and if that area has at least 50 percent of the children that meet the eligibility for free or reduced price meals in the national school lunch program, then that site meets eligibility and then they can claim all the meals at the summer site,” Simhauser says.
The program served students attending the Illinois Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired as well as kids in the North Greene School District last year. Simhauser says about 100,000 students took advantage of the program last year.
“The school might be the only place where they’re getting two meals, so this helps ensures that even though school’s out, these students are being well-fed,” says Simhauser. “And obviously, students who are well-fed are ready and capable to learn more and don’t have some of those issues that can deter from their learning.”
Individual students don’t have to re-apply. Sponsors can receive reimbursement. Applications will be accepted starting March 4th up until June 15th.
You can also run a food distribution site or volunteer in another capacity.
For more information, visit a link to the ISBE online.