For many kids, summertime means two things: fun and friends. But when school’s out, that also means that families can’t count on their kids eating meals at school, and already tight family food budgets have to be stretched even further. Parents also know that growing kids have big appetites.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to kids across New Orleans similar to School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, except meals are free to all kids that come to a registered summer meals site.
Summer Meals Programs Details:
- Meals are FREE to children and teens ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals sites
- Free summer meals will help families save money and stretch their already tight food budgets
- Food served at summer meal sites follows USDA nutrition guidelines and are paid for by the USDA
- Summer meals sites are at safe places for kids to go such as schools, churches, community centers, farmer's market and other places that are safe for kids and teens
- May sites offer educational and recreational activities that kids of all ages can participate in so they can eat, hang out with friends and enjoy activities
- Parents don’t need to apply to the program to get a free summer meal for their kids. They can simply bring their child to a summer meals site in their community and their kids can enjoy it without the hassle of having to fill out an application.
- To find free meals in your community click here.
How to Get Involved:
This summer, we are aggressively working to coordinate kids to free summer meals by linking summer camps to Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Sponsors. These sponsors prepare meals for summer camps. Any child under the age of 18 can participate. Meals can be provided in various ways:
- Meals can be delivered to summer camps
- Summer camps can coordinate with local schools to bring students to nearby schools for breakfast and lunch
- Meals can be picked up from some sponsors
- Meals can be prepared at summer camps by sponsors
All meals are FREE to summer camps and summer camp participants. Most 501(c)3 camps operating in Orleans Parish are eligible to participate. Funding for these meals comes from the USDA, and Sponsors providing meals are reimbursed on a per meal basis. Eligibility in SFSP is based on Census data - because of the number of children in Orleans Parish receiving Free and Reduced-Price lunch during the school year, summer camps in almost every neighborhood qualify to participate.
Some top line information for summer camps to participate is as follows:
- Summer Camps must have 501(c) 3 status
- Breakfast, lunch and supper are provided free to summer camps
- In order for meals to be delivered to camp sites, camps must have at least 30 children enrolled
- Summer camps with at least 15 children enrolled can bring kids to nearby school for meals but this must be coordinated and arranged with schools. Also Summer Camps will sign an MOU with schools detailing the days, time of meals, number of kids, number of staff (Many schools in OPSB, RSD, KIPP SFA, Algiers Charter School networks will be available)
- Students 18 years and younger working for summer programs can also receive meals
- Summer Camps coordinate directly with sponsors who will provide meals. CLICK HERE to learn about the different sponsor options and how to connect with them. Sponsors include:
The Healthy School Food Collaborative
Orleans Parish School Board
Second Harvest Food Bank
Fresh Food Factor of Volunteers of America
Algiers Charter School Network
The deadline to select and coordinate with a sponsor is April. Summer camps should contact potential sponsors as soon as possible to determine compatibility. Meal components are based on USDA guidelines, both hot and cold meals are offered Monday through Friday for most of the summer. Summer camps can operate in schools, community centers, churches and other locations. For meals to be delivered or prepared on site, the site must provide health inspection certification, fire inspection certificate and liability insurance.
Increasing Enrollment in Summer Programs
The New Orleans No Kid Hungry Campaign is also working to assist summer camps to increase their enrollment. Beginning April 1st, there will be advertising in a number of locations to direct families to our website to get more information on summer camp options. Advertising will include bus shelter ads, posters in over 200 locations across the city, print media etc. If you would like your summer camp to be included in this opportunity, please complete the New Orleans Summer Camp Information form. Once we confirm the summer camp info, we will include it on our website.
Please share this information with your networks and colleagues who may be interested in this information. Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible and to make sure that this summer No Kid in New Orleans goes hungry! If you would like more information on the No Kid Hungry New Orleans Campaign or the Free Summer Meals Program, please do not hesitate to contact Rhonda Jackson, No Kid Hungry Campaign Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cynthia Via, Outreach Coordinator (email@example.com).