Summer Meals

McKinley Middle School Students with the New Orleans Saints Mascot

Louisiana Fit Kids - Insights
Louisiana Summer Meals Programs

Around Louisiana, places like schools, recreation centers, parks, churches, and libraries are serving free, nutritious summer meals to kids up to 18 years old through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SFSP was designed to help low-income students during the summer months who aren’t receiving free or reduced-price school meals to continue to have access to meals and snacks. Louisiana SFSPs serve more than 2.5 million meals each summer.

Louisiana Summer Meals 2019 Graphic

How Does the Summer Food Service Program Work?

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is funded by the USDA and administered by the Louisiana Department of Education Child Nutrition Program.
Sponsors communicate with the Louisiana Department of Education to run the programs. Louisiana’s more than 100 sponsoring organizations include schools, local government agencies, camps, and faith-based and other non-profit community organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program. While responsible for the operation of Summer Meal sites, sponsors also must ensure access to meals is available and known to eligible children in their communities.
Louisiana has nearly 900 meal summer sites--the places in the community where children receive meals. Sites may be located in a variety of safe and supervised settings, including schools, parks, community centers, churches, camps, and migrant centers. More than 45 summer meal sites are at public libraries in Louisiana.
A smoothly run site is something that every sponsor and site operator hopes to achieve. The key is an organized, well-supervised program that meets the goal of providing fresh, well-balanced meals that are appealing to children.
Image of Summer Meals Site Finder

Find a Summer Meals Site!

Check out the Online Summer Meals Site Finder! Type in an address or zip code to find the nearest summer meals site.

Call 1-866-348-6479 and ask for the nearest place serving summer meals.

USDA created a free texting number that families can use to find Summer Meals sites near them. Families can text Summer Meals to 97779 to find summer sites near them.

Spanish speakers can text Verano to 97779.

What Does a Summer Meal Look Like?

All meals served in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) must meet certain requirements in order to receive reimbursement. These requirements, including the meal patterns and recordkeeping, help the menu planner to provide well-balanced, nutritious meals that meet the nutritional and energy needs of children. The SFSP Meal Patterns are practical, flexible and allow sponsors to create recipes and menus that are nutritious and consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Louisiana Cycle Menus are local examples that use these guidelines. Check out the Summer Food Service Program Nutrition Guide for detailed information on meal pattern requirements.

Example Lunches

Bean Burrito Photo Steamed Corn Photo Fresh Strawberries Photo Milk Graphic/Photo

Bean and Cheese Burrito on Whole Grain Tortilla
Corn
Fresh Strawberries
Low-Fat or Fat Free Milk

Baked Chicken Photo Brown Rice Photo Mixed Steamed Vegetables Photo Peaches Photo Milk Graphic/Photo

Oven Baked Chicken
Brown Rice
Stir Fry Vegetables
Frozen Peaches
Low-Fat or Fat Free Milk

Summer Meals Program Resources

Summer Food, Summer Moves is a fun, hands-on resource kit designed to get kids and families excited about healthy eating and physical activity during the summer months. The kit is designed for use by summer meal site operators and focuses on using music, games, art, and movement to motivate kids and families to choose more fruits and vegetables, choose water instead of sugary drinks, get enough physical activity every day, and to limit screen time.
FNS Capacity Builder Mapping Tool Icon
The FNS Capacity Builder Mapping Tool allows users to visualize "layers" of information, such as the area eligibility data, existing sites and potential site locations (multi-family housing units, libraries, museums, and schools and more). The Capacity Builder is a powerful tool for sponsors to evaluate previous summer’s performance as well as identify areas where there are gaps in summer meal access.
USDA Logo USDA Blog
SFSP Fact Sheet Icon SFSP Fact Sheet
SFSP Fact Sheet (Spanish) Icon SFSP Fact Sheet (Spanish)
SFSP Summer Meals Bookmark Icon SFSP Summer Meals Bookmark
SFSP Summer Meals Flyer Icon SFSP Summer Meals Flyer
SFSP Summer Meals Postcard Icon SFSP Summer Meals Postcard

The Summer Nutrition Wave! Sign at McKinley Middle School

Summer Meals Program Outreach

February is the perfect time to develop a summer meals outreach plan using the Food Research & Action Center's Outreach to Increase Participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs guide.

Request printed materials for your Summer Meals Program from Team Nutrition!

Use USDA resources, including flyers and door hangers to advertise your sites. They are available for you to download and customize at the Summer Meals Toolkit site.

Distribute banners to all your Summer Meal sites and display them in strategic locations to best publicize to the community that your sites are open

Turnip the Beet Graphic

Turnip the Beet Award

The Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to offer high quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious during the summer months.

Read more about our Louisiana Turnip the Beet Award Winner!