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Illinois students can access free healthy meals and snacks during the summer

By PrinciPal Connection posted 05-29-2020 13:01

  
THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION


The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) will provide healthy meals and snacks to children and teens age 18 and younger at hundreds of sites across Illinois this summer. Families can find their nearest summer meals site by calling (800) 359-2163, texting “FoodIL" to 877-877, or visiting summermealsillinois.org.   

Hunger touches every community in Illinois. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means even more families now depend on federally funded nutrition programs. Illinois’ summer meals programs rely on community organizations, school districts, and other sponsors who are dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Illinois. ISBE is continuing to encourage organizations to take part in this program to ensure all students have access to meals when school is not in session. Interested organizations can learn more about becoming a sponsor or site at www.isbe.net/summerfood

ISBE is utilizing waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow meals to be served in safe, socially distanced ways, such as curbside pickup, home delivery, and provision of meals for multiple days of the week at one time. Waivers will also allow parents and/or guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.

“COVID-19 has turned many families’ lives upside down. Illinois’ summer meals programs help to ensure that one thing families do not have to worry about is where their children will get their next meal,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Throughout this crisis, schools have found safe and creative ways to meet students' nutritional needs, such as home delivery, pickup, and drive-through options. Thanks to federal waivers that we have secured, these options will continue over the summer. We encourage all school districts to evaluate the needs of their communities during this trying time and to participate in summer food programs, if possible.”

The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the USDA and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education in partnership with local organizations across the state. The program provides funding to public or private nonprofit Local Education Agencies; entities of state, local, municipal, or county government; residential camps; organizations with 501(c)(3) status; and faith-based organizations to serve nutritious meals to children during the summer months when schools are not in session.

Summer Food Service Program Service Requirements

All participating SFSP sponsors must provide free meals to all sites that meet income eligibility. Income eligibility can be determined through school attendance area data, census data, or household eligibility data.

Open and restricted open sites serve areas in which poor economic conditions exist and must provide meals to all children without charge. The meals must be the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Sites will provide meals on a first-come, first-served basis.

Enrolled sites and camps must provide meals to all eligible children free of charge given certain criteria. Enrolled sites are sites open only to children enrolled in a program or to a group of identified children, as opposed to the community at large. Enrolled sites are able to qualify by either area eligibility or individual income eligibility of the children attending the site. Children at residential and non-residential camps who wish to participate in SFSP may qualify for free meals by meeting the income guidelines for reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program. The income guidelines for reduced-price meals by family size are listed below. A foster child and children who are part of households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits or benefits under Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are automatically eligible to receive free meals at eligible program sites. Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service at any sites.

USDA Summer Food Service Program 2020 Income Guidelines

If a household’s income falls within or below the guidelines listed below, a family member should contact the site’s sponsor to learn the benefits of the program. If the site does not meet area eligibility, families may be required to complete an application and provide income, TANF, or SNAP information. Please contact ISBE at (800) 545-7892 or at cnp@isbe.net for possible alternative methods to meet site eligibility.  


To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) found at www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit the completed form or letter to USDA by (1) mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax at (202) 690-7442; or (3) email at program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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