Pizza Camp was the kick-off for this year’s Arizona Summer Feeding Program on Thursday, June 14th from 1-2pm at Chief Hill Learning Academy in Chandler. The Dairy Council of Arizona awarded a total of $20,000 in grants to the Summer Feeding Program to celebrate June’s Dairy Month. The Chandler Unified School District was one of 32 programs to receive $2,000 of this total to help feed children who would otherwise go hungry when out of school.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was on hand, along with The Arizona Diamondback’s organist Bobby Freeman and alumni player Kelly Stinnett, as well as the folks at the Dairy Council of Arizona and the Chandler Firefighters to help make pizzas. The groups interacted with 50+ hungry kids, as they made their own pizzas and watched the dough being hand-tossed by pizza professionals before baking them in a state-of-the-art conveyor pizza oven.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded child nutrition program which was established to ensure low-income children, ages 18 and younger, continue to have an opportunity to receive nutritious means when school in not in session. In Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Health and Nutrition Services division, directly administers the program.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, noted that the Summer Food Services Program (SFSP) has begun.
“Many low-income families depend on the free and reduced meals that are served during the school year,” said Superintendent Douglas. “No child in Arizona should suffer from food insecurity just because school is out of session. That’s why the Summer Food Services Program is so important.”
So far, one thousand and fifty-five (1,155) SFSP sites have been approved in the State of Arizona. This is an increase over last year’s total of one thousand and seventy-three (1,073). As with every summer, additional SFSP sites are added through the summer. Some of the sites are already opened, others will open soon. The sites will remain open through the first week in August.
Last year, during the summer of 2017, more than 3.1 Million meals were served at SFSP sites in Arizona. With the increase in sites, it is anticipated that even more meals will be served. The majority of sites serve breakfast and lunch. Some also serve dinner and/or snacks.
To find a Summer Food Program site near you and find out their address, times of operation and which meals are served, please follow this link to the interactive map: www.azhealthzone.org/summerfood/
(Phoenix, Ariz., May 17, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced the launch of the Arizona Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a summer meal reimbursement program for children ranging from newborns to 18 years old. The SFSP provides children in low- income areas the opportunity to receive a nutritious meal while school is not in session during the summer.
“Our job in education is to give children every opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Studies have shown that hunger has a negative effect on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of children. If they are not properly nourished and healthy, their road to success becomes an uphill battle.”
SFSP sites, which can be a school or a non-profit organization like a YMCA or a Boys & Girls Club, must be in eligible areas where the percentage of children approved for free or reduced-priced lunch is 50 percent or higher. Sponsors are allowed to serve two meals or a meal and a snack per day.
Glendale, Chandler and Flagstaff Unified are just some of the school districts that are participating in the SFSP. On June 5, the Blue Ridge School District will be the first to launch the program by hosting a kick-off event that will include the community’s mayor and actor Danny Diaz from the movie McFarland USA.
Those interested in locating SFSP sites in their area, as well as their operating dates and times, can log on to https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks and type in their address or zip code or text FOOD to 877-877.