Ohio Department of Education Announces Summer Food Service Program Plans


Sunbury News Staff Report



With the help of numerous sponsoring agencies and stakeholders, the Summer Food Service Program works to feed thousands of children in Ohio. Since 2014, Ohio has increased participation in the program by 10 percent.

Despite these numbers, many Ohio parents and caregivers are forced to make difficult decisions daily to provide for their families. In many cases, this leaves Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens, our children and youth, struggling with hunger daily.

This year, the Ohio Department of Education wants to increase participation in summer meal programs and is actively seeking local nonprofit agencies to participate as sponsors or sites by providing free meals to children.

“The need for healthy meals doesn’t stop when school breaks for the summer,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “The Summer Food Service Program helps provide children with nourishment to make sure summer can be a time for continued learning and fun. Instead of worrying about where their next meals will come from, our students can enjoy activities like reading, sports, playing outdoors and the growing that happens during the summer months.”

Free meals are provided at schools, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, parks, camps, community centers, swimming pools, libraries, low-income housing complexes and more.

Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursement to cover the costs of providing nutritious meals and snacks to children in eligible areas. Nonprofit organizations offering summer activities for children living in low-income areas also are encouraged to apply.

Expansion of the program is particularly needed in southern Ohio counties, where families struggle with food insecurity, as well as in rural communities and areas where migrant families reside.

The Summer Food Service Program ensures that children ages 1-18 continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer break from school, when they do not have access to school breakfast or lunch. Children with disabilities and approved individualized education programs may participate through age 21.

A sponsoring organization must be:

  • A public or nonprofit private school;
  • A public or nonprofit private residential summer camp;
  • A unit of local, municipal, county or state government;
  • A public or nonprofit college or university; or
  • A private nonprofit organization.

The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Ohio Department of Education.

Any organization interested in becoming a sponsor or site should complete the potential sponsor survey no later than Friday, March 2.

About the Ohio Department of Education

The Ohio Department of Education oversees the state’s public education system, which includes public school districts, joint vocational school districts and charter schools. The Department also monitors educational service centers, other regional education providers, early learning and child care programs, and private schools. The Department’s tasks include administering the school funding system, collecting school fiscal and performance data, developing academic standards and model curricula, administering the state achievement tests, issuing district and school report cards, administering Ohio’s voucher programs, providing professional development, and licensing teachers, administrators, treasurers, superintendents and other education personnel. The Department is governed by the State Board of Education with administration of the Department the responsibility of the superintendent of public instruction.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Sunbury News Staff Report