WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today invited States to develop and test alternative methods of providing food for low-income children in urban and rural areas during the summer. USDA is requesting applications to enhance the current Summer Food Service Program by testing and evaluating home delivery and food backpack programs designed to reduce hunger among children when school is out.
"USDA remains committed to cultivating innovative practices to prevent hunger among children in the summer months," said Vilsack. "These important demonstration projects will help ensure children receive the nutrition they need throughout the entire year."
One of the most important tools that State and Federal governments have to address child nutrition when schools have closed is the SFSP, which serves millions of low-income children during summer months. In the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations Act, Congress provided $85 million to demonstrate improved approaches to summer feeding for low-income children, and to assess their influence on food insecurity among children.
Selected states will be given funds to conduct demonstrations using food backpacks to provide meals for eligible children on days SFSP meals are not available and to develop strategies to deliver meals to eligible children in rural areas at a sustainable cost. The home delivery and food backpacks enhancements are intended to increase SFSP participation and improve food security among children when school is out.
Applications are due Dec. 15, 2010 and may be submitted by hand delivery, mail, or electronically using the federal grants website, www.grants.gov. Additional information about the demonstrations and the application materials may also be found on the Food and Nutrition website.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Summer Food Service Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the National School Lunch Program, WIC, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net. USDA administers these programs in partnership with State and local agencies and works with faith- and community-based organizations to ensure that nutrition assistance is available to those in need. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for additional information about the Summer Food Service Program.