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Home » Policy & Funding » Child Nutrition » Summer Food Service Program

Summer Food Service Program

Update: OSPI Requesting Waivers for Non-Congregate Meals

Washington state is requesting two waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding non-congregate meals in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The first request is due to safety concerns from SFSP sponsors regarding incidents at summer meal sites which has resulted in some staff and families not wanting to participate in meals. The second waiver request is due to excessive heat and air quality concerns and the release of  Washington State Department of Health's warning of wildfire smoke forecasted to affect Washington this season.

The safety of SFSP sponsors and participants is OSPI’s priority. These waivers will allow SFSP sponsors to feel empowered as they serve meals to their community knowing they have an option to claim meals taken off-site while keeping staff and participants safe, should a safety event occur.

Questions? Please email the Summer Meals team inbox.

Contact Information


Good nutrition is essential for effective learning every day, all year long. Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition. Summer meal programs help children get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow throughout the summer months.

Summer sponsors receive payments for serving healthy meals and snacks to children 18 years of age and younger. Meal sites must be located in lower-income areas and must be approved to operate by the state agency. An overview of the program is provided in the Summer Food Service Program Reference Sheet

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that participate in the National School Lunch Program may choose to operate the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) instead of the SFSP. Refer to the Comparison of Programs to help you determine the best program for your LEA.

Administering the SFSP

Program Operations

  • Food Service Management Companies (FSMC)- Program sponsors may contract with a commercial enterprise or nonprofit organization that manages any aspect of the organization’s food service program.
  • Menu Planning and Meal Patterns -Discover the components of the nutritious, well-balanced, and age-appropriate meals served.
  • Purchasing/ Procurement for Federal Programs - Sponsors are reimbursed through OSPI with funds from the USDA. Receiving public funds means sponsors are responsible to follow ethical business and purchasing practices set by USDA regulations.
  • Required Program Training- All sponsors must meet minimum training requirements. 

Elevate Your Program

  • Farm to Summer- Summer is a time of agricultural abundance. Using Washington grown foods in your summer meal program is a great way to take advantage of all the produce our state has to offer. 
  • Turnip the Beet Awards-  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Turnip the Beet award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors who work to offer high-quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious.

Camps and Closed Sites

Residential or day camps providing regular meal service to enrolled children throughout the day may operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Camp sites are required to collect household income applications to establish eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. 


USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.