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Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

USDA Summer Meals Study

The USDA Summer Meals Study provides a comprehensive, nationally representative assessment of the two summer meal programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture : the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option. It is the first national study to simultaneously examine the facilitators and barriers to program participation among participating and nonparticipating families, sponsors, and sites. This study examines the characteristics of participating and nonparticipating children, including sociodemographic characteristics, household food security status, reasons for participation or nonparticipation, and satisfaction with the meals served to children in the summer of 2018. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Study of School Food Authority Procurement Practices

The Study of School Food Authority (SFA) Procurement Practices is the first study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service to comprehensively describe and assess the decision-making process regarding school food procurement practices at the SFA level. The sample for this study was a subset of the 1,679 SFAs that participated in the Child Nutrition Operations Study II (CN-OPS-II), which included a module on SFA procurement practices in school year (SY) 2016–17. Findings are based on the perceptions and experiences of the SFA and they may not reflect actual regulations and policies; this study was not an audit. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review

The Farm to School Census and Comprehensive Review includes the 2019 Farm to School Census; a descriptive review of the USDA Farm to School grant program; a review of published research on farm to school since 2010; and a set of interviews with school food distributors. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II (CN-OPS II) SY 2016-17 Report

The Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II is a multiyear study designed to provide FNS with information on current state agency and school food authority policies, practices, and needs related to school nutrition service operations, financial management, meal counting, eligibility, nutrition standards, and personnel. Results inform CN program management and policy development. 

Resource | Research | Report to Congress

Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study

The Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study was commissioned by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in response to a legislative requirement of House Report 114-531. The study examined challenges faced by state agencies (SAs) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) related to child nutrition (CN) program administrative and reporting requirements and identifying those that contribute most to the workload for SAs and SFAs that operate CN programs.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics

SFSP Characteristics Study

This study collected data on SFSP operations and characteristics at the state, sponsor, and site levels. Survey data was collected in the summer of 2015 from a census of the 53 state agencies (all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) and nationally representative samples of SFSP sponsors and sites. In lieu of a technical research report, study findings are included in a four-page infographic.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (SEBTC) Demonstration: A Summary Report

The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration distributed a monthly benefit during the summer on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) EBT cards to children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The first two summers (2011 and 2012) tested a $60 benefit amount. Summer 2013 compared the impacts of a $30 benefit to a $60 benefit, and summer 2014 examined implementation strategies and benefit use patterns. This comprehensive report presents results from the analysis of pooled data from all summer demonstrations.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of the Impact of Wave 2 Incentives Demonstrations on Participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): FY 2012

The evaluation analyzed administrative data acquired from the six States that participated in the 2012 Enhanced Summer Food Service Program (eSFSP) Demonstrations to examine the impact of the demonstrations on participation. It found that the impacts on participation were mixed. For the Backpack demonstration, sites in one State increased the number of children and meals served, sites in another State served more meals but did not increase the number of children served, and both meals and children served decreased in the third State. Analysis of the Meal Delivery demonstration indicates the demonstration likely increased the number of children served.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of the 2012 Summer Food Service Program Enhancement Demonstrations

The evaluation used interviews and site visits to capture implementation strategies and stakeholders’ views of the 2012 Enhanced Summer Food Service Program (eSFSP) demonstrations. Results indicated that sites used different strategies for recruitment and outreach; the types of food delivered; training; and technical assistance. Site administrators felt that previous experience operating an SFSP site; good use of partnerships, volunteers, consultants, and activities to make the projects family friendly; a focus on healthful eating; and careful use of resources for efficiency were important to successful implementation. Also, both participating families and site operators felt the demonstrations were an important resource to address summer hunger.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

SEBTC Demonstration: Evaluation Findings for the Third Implementation Year 2013 Final Report

The evaluation examined the impact of a $30 per child per month benefit on child, adult and household food security relative to a $60 monthly benefit. It found that the $30 benefit was as effective in reducing the most severe category of food insecurity among children during the summer as the $60 benefit.