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State to increase scope of summer food programs

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announces they will partner with the Minnesota Vikings, Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM) and Second Harvest Heartland (SHH) to increase the number of summer feeding sites to serve at-risk Minnesota chil...

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announces they will partner with the Minnesota Vikings, Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM) and Second Harvest Heartland (SHH) to increase the number of summer feeding sites to serve at-risk Minnesota children during the summer. These organizations will help MDE identify qualified organizations to sponsor the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"During the summer months, many of our low-income children lose access to the nutritious meals they receive during the regular school year," said MDE Commissioner Alice Seagren. "The Summer Food Service Program fills this gap by providing free meals and snacks to eligible children 18 years and younger, helping them return to school in the fall ready to learn."

Sponsors are needed for many underserved areas. Sponsors receive payments for both operational and administrative costs. In 2008, SFSP had 77 sponsors with 367 sites and those sites provided over 1 million meals. Qualified sponsors receive federal payments for both the meals served to children and the costs incurred in serving the meals. New sponsors also receive training and technical assistance from MDE.

A sponsoring organization must be a public or nonprofit private school food authority; a public or nonprofit private residential summer camp; a unit of local, municipal, county or state government; a public or nonprofit college or university currently participating in the National Youth Sports Program; or a private nonprofit organization.

For more information about the simplified Summer Food Service Program or about offering the SFSP in your area, contact MDE Food and Nutrition Service, 651-582-8526, 800-366-8922 or e-mail to fns@state.mn.us . Also, visit the MDE Web site, www.education.state.mn.us .

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