Coronavirus Resources for Schools

HousEd Housing-Meals Brief

Contains resources from school districts and public health agencies.

Issue link: https://content.acsa.org/i/1223376

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2 HousED is an initiative of Partnership for Children & Youth school is out of session. Agencies are reimbursed for the meals through USDA, administered in California through the California Department of Education (CDE). These programs enable agencies to redirect their limited resources toward other priorities, while allowing them to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods that meet the nutritional needs of growing children and teens. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) / Seamless Summer Food Option (SSFO) Perhaps the easiest and most impactful way to ensure that children and teens stay healthy during the summer, and on track academically, is through the USDA summer meal programs. The easiest way to think about summer meals is to imagine a summer arm of the National School Lunch Program. Many school districts operate the Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO) because it allows them to simply extend their school- year breakfast and lunch operations. School districts can provide free meals to all kids in the community at school sites or at locations in the community, such as parks, libraries, or affordable housing locations. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is similar to SSFO, but it also enables local government agencies, like city park and recreation departments, community- based agencies (e.g., a church, mosque, youth development nonprofit), tribal agencies, or affordable housing communities, to administer the program and be reimbursed for offering free meals to children and youth ages 18 and under. Both programs allow agencies to serve free, healthy meals to all children and youth in the community. These programs do not require any paperwork for families. There is no income verification, application, or identification needed. Children can simply show up during the time of meal service to receive a meal, making it an easy-to-utilize resource, particularly in communities where there may be a reluctance or fear of utilizing public programs. Sites may offer breakfast, lunch, snack, supper, or any combination of the two, except for lunch and supper. Some meal providers may be able to provide shelf- stable weekend meals too, making weekend breakfast an ideal additional option for those able to offer it. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Snack and Supper Program The CACFP snack and supper program enables agencies to offer a free healthy snack, or more substantial meal, often called "super snack" or "supper" to children after school, during the school year. The primary difference between the summer and afterschool meal programs is that a learning or enrichment activity must be offered in conjunction with the meals served after school. The enrichment activity may be a formal afterschool program or a simple "homework help" program. The type of activity may be subject to approval by CDE. Children are not required to participate in the activity, but one must be offered. How Do The Programs Work? 1 For both SFSP/SSFO and CACFP, the meal sponsor, often a school district, city/county agency, or nonprofit organization, acts as the administrative and fiscal agent for the program. The sponsor provides the meals that are served at the site. Meal service must comply with requirements specified by USDA and the state agency. The meal site, such as a housing community, is the physical location where the meals are served. Site staff are tasked with handling and serving meals, monitoring food to ensure it complies with health and safety regulations and other program rules, such as tracking the number of meals served, and record-keeping. The meal site may be a site that is open to the whole community or a closed enrolled site for children enrolled in an on-site program. For housing communities where there may be safety concerns about being an open site, it may be more appropriate to work with the meal sponsor to be an open restricted meal site. Meal sponsors are required to provide training for meal site representatives to educate them on the rules and process of operating and monitoring the meal service. In some communities, a school district meal sponsor may be able to send a staff member to serve the meals, enabling the site to simply supply the space. Meals must be eaten on-site and may not be consumed by adults. 2 1 This is intended as general guidance only. Please visit USDA's website to learn more about program regulations about SFSP and CACFP, or contact your school district. 2 This can be a challenge in communities where adult hunger is also an issue or where it is standard for families to eat together. Your meal provider may be able to offer adult meals for purchase or absorb the cost of adult volunteers. See USDA for official guidance.

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