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 program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with support from the Child Nutrition Outreach Program at Project Bread.
Nearly 10% of Massachusetts households experience food insecurity. The SFSP helps to fill the gap left open during the summer months for these families. When children have reliable access to food during the summer they can return to school ready to learn.
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. These children may be at risk for hunger and malnutrition, and they will return to school in September at a disadvantage relative to their peers. By providing free, nutritious meals throughout the summer, the SFSP ensures that every child has access to the food they need to succeed.