The Summer Food Service Program has been around since the late 60’s, and though utilized by children nationwide, it’s never been utilized to the fullest. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a 2018 study showed that participation in both the SFSP and NSLP Seamless Summer Option has diminished in the last few years. Both programs are designed to provide funding to serve meals to children at sites where:
- 50% of the children in the area are eligible for free/reduced school meals;
- 50% of children participating at a site are individually determined eligible for free/reduced school meals;
- Those being primarily served are migrant children
The 2018 findings are summarized below:
One way to increase participation during summer feeding is to increase the number of sites. Several communities are already doing so by adding local libraries as one of the many feeding sites.
Sites already include a variety of settings such as schools, recreation centers, playgrounds, and more. It only makes sense to include libraries as one of these many settings as they are already accessible to many communities, and promote two programs at once- the library and feeding program.
By utilizing your local library, you can benefit your community by:
- Feeding more children during the summer
- Educating library-goers about the program
- Bringing those utilizing the program into the library
According to Lunch at the Library, a program in California, they found that families participating are generally happier and more likely to utilize other library resources and services. It also creates a trusted community space for children and their families to go when school is out. There are several more findings from this program and can be found here.