Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded nutrition program that provides free meals to children ages 18 and under when school is not in session. In Massachusetts, the SFSP is administered by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Summer meal sites are located in eligible areas throughout the state, and meals are often provided in conjunction with educational and recreational activities.
According to the U. S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey, 11.9% of Massachusetts households experience food insecurity and the health consequences that go along with it. During the school year, many families stretch their food budget by applying for free or reduced price school meals for their children. Frequently, these families find it difficult to absorb the additional meal costs when school is not in session. Their children may be at risk for hunger and malnutrition and are at a disadvantage when they return to school in September. By providing free, nutritious meals throughout the summer, the SFSP ensures that every child has access to the food they need in order to return to school ready to learn.