More Money for Summer Food

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Programs that will provide snacks or meals to youths this summer should consider two major funding sources.

First, food reimbursement rates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program are up by 4 percent over last year, the department said.

Participating organizations (called “sponsors”) receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks to youth 18 and younger at approved sites in low-income areas. Sponsors include out-of-school time programs, summer camps and other community-based organizations. The sponsors receive training on how to plan, operate and monitor a nutritional food program.

The 2008 reimbursement rates for all states except Alaska and Hawaii (which are slightly higher) are: $1.51 per breakfast, $2.64 per lunch and $0.61 per snack for each child fed. The department says 31,000 sites participated in the program last year, serving 117,700 meals to nearly 2 million children. Information is at

Second, the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength is holding its fifth Great American Bake Sale, which funds grants to help organizations and schools facilitate and promote summer feeding programs. The 2008 Great American Bake Sale launched on March 1 and will conclude on June 30.

Organizations have used bake sale funds to purchase kitchen equipment and utensils at summer feeding sites, cover the cost of opening meal sites, hire additional serving staff, and conduct outreach that informs parents about the availability of free meals.

Since 2003, proceeds from the Bake Sale have helped to establish 926 summer feeding sites across the country, according to Share Our Strength. Nonprofits, schools and local government entities can apply by May 30 for the grants, which range from $1,000 to $10,000. Information is at