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Schools, groups sought for summer meals program

KTVZ

In Oregon, only 38,908 of the 307,182 children who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals in the National School Lunch Program participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

The Oregon Department of Education is seeking more schools, community organizations and tribes to participate in SFSP this summer to help ensure that children and teens receive the nutritious meals they need during the summer months. Last summer, Oregon’s 135 summer food sponsors served almost 1.6 million meals and snacks at 818 locations.

“Supporting the Summer Food Service Program converts the summer gap into a summer boost,” ODE Summer Meals Outreach Coordinator Jessica Visinsky said. “Access to healthy meals and enrichment programs in the summer supports a child’s educational and physical growth. When children miss out on chances for meals and enrichment during the summer, it causes a gap that they must try to make up when school reconvenes.”

It is important to expand the program and close the hunger gap in all areas of the state, and ODE’s Child Nutrition Program is particularly interested in serving more summer meals in the following 15 counties:

Clackamas

Marion

Union

Deschutes

Morrow

Wallowa

Grant

Multnomah

Wasco

Jackson

Sherman

Wheeler

Lincoln

Tillamook

Yamhill

Organizations enter into agreements with the Oregon Department of Education to run the programs. Schools, non-profit community organizations, local government agencies, camps and faith-based organizations that have the ability to manage a food service program may be SFSP sponsors. Sponsors are reimbursed for serving healthy meals and snacks to children and may manage multiple sites.

Sites are places in the community where children receive meals in a safe and supervised environment. Sites may be located in a variety of settings, including schools, parks, community centers, health clinics, hospitals, libraries, migrant centers, apartment complexes and faith-based locations. Sites work directly with local sponsors.

The Oregon Department of Education also has state grant funds available up to $20,000 per applicant to start up or expand summer meal programs, including building community partnerships to increase summer meal programs in your area.

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, contact Jessica Visinsky at 503-947-5897 or jessica.visinsky@state.or.us . Applications are available on the ODE website and are due by April 19.

KTVZ News Team

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