Summer Food Service Program Offers Free Nutritious Meals to Combat Childhood Hunger
Families can look up meal locations in their area by calling 2-1-1, or texting “Food” or “Comida” to 304-304 or by visiting Summer Food Oregon.
(Salem, Ore.) – The Oregon Department of Education is encouraging Oregon families to take three steps this summer to help combat childhood hunger:
- Find a summer meals site.
- Spread the word about summer meals sites.
- Review the changes to how meals are served this summer.
When schools let out for the summer, thousands of Oregon children lose access to breakfast, lunch, and afterschool meals, available during the regular school year. Many children and families rely on these school meals to supplement what is available at home.
The Summer Food Service Program helps fill this gap by providing free nutritious meals to children and teens over the summer months. Free meals and enrichment activities are offered at more than 700 locations throughout the state including many schools, parks, and other non-profit organizations.
Meals are available to any child 18 and under without regard to race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), age or disability.
Finding Meal Sites
There are more than 700 summer meal sites in Oregon alone.
Families can look up meal locations in their area by:
-Texting “Food” or “Comida” to 304-304
-Visiting Summer Food Oregon
Spread The Word
The Oregon Department of Education invites community partners, school districts, and all Oregonians to help spread the word about the free summer meals to families in your area. A sample Tweet and Facebook post are provided below for those interested in promoting summer meals and reducing childhood hunger this summer.
#SFSP can fill bellies and minds! For more info visit Summer Food Oregon #SummerMealsOR
Find #FoodFriendsandFun! To find a #SFSP meal site by you visit Summer Food Oregon! #SummerMealsOR
Sample Facebook post:
Children need good nutrition all year long. When school is out during the summer months, many children no longer have access to even one nutritious meal each day. The Summer Food Service Program helps to fill the gap. To find a site, call 2-1-1, text “Food” or “Comida” to 304-304, or visit Summer Food Oregon.
Important Meal Service Changes
Throughout the pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the government agency that administers our summer meal program, waived many of the program requirements, offering flexibilities to meal service operations in an effort to serve participants safely and minimize exposure to COVID-19. Several of the current waivers offering flexibilities are set to expire in the near future. Due to the expiration of these waivers, participants can expect to experience some changes from last summer’s meal service, which includes:
- Parent(s)/ Guardians will no longer be able to pick up meals on behalf of their children.
- Students/participants must be present to receive a meal and remain onsite when consuming their meal. Food items are not allowed offsite.
- Multiple meals will not be served at one meal service.
While the impact of this change may affect each participant and their families differently, Oregon Sponsors remain committed to serving healthy meals in a safe and friendly environment.
The program is currently underutilized with many families unaware of the free meals and activities in their communities. Nationally, only one out of six children who receive free or reduced price meals during the school year continues to receive meals during the summer months. Increasing awareness of and access to these programs can have a significant impact on combating childhood food insecurity.
If you have questions, please contact ODE Child Nutrition Programs - Community Nutrition, at (503) 947-5894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
- mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
- fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
- email: email@example.com
The USDA is an equal opportunity provider.