The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO), provides kids and teens in low-income areas free snacks and/or meals when school is out.
Returning and potential new summer program operators interested in serving meals when school is out should refer to this webpage for program information and summer initiatives.
There are a number of ways that local organizations can be a part of the summer meals programs.
If your organization is interested in becoming a site that serves summer meals, please contact Health and Nutrition Services (HNS) to see if you are located in an eligible area that can serve summer meals and we can connect you with an organization that can sponsor your meal service. Contact HNS by email at [email protected] or by phone 602-542-8700, Option 1.
If you wish to sponsor your own summer program, organizations must enter into an agreement with the Arizona Department of Education. Start the process by completing the SFSP Prospective Entity Form.
Schools and organizations with a current Food Program Permanent Service Agreement (FPPSA) can review the annual application requirements and deadlines in memorandum HNS 04-2022. Operators must be approved prior to serving summer meals.
[Pending USDA approval] ALL summer operators wishing to utilize this waiver must opt into it. SFSP operators must opt into this waiver through the CNP Management Plan. SSO operators will opt into this waiver by completing the Demonstration Project for Non-Congregate Feeding for Outdoor Summer Sites Experiencing Excessive Heat Participation Form and submitting this form to their assigned specialist. By opting into this waiver, sites will be permitted to conduct a non-congregate meal service on days when the National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning or Excessive Heat Watch for the area where the site is located. The participating operator will be required to track and report to HNS the number of meals served under this flexibility in the portal provided below, and keep documentation supporting the Excessive Heat Warning/Watch from the National Weather Service.
The following are Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers that were established to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19) in school year 2021-22. The waivers below will remain in effect for operators approved to operate the Seamless Summer Option through June 30, 2022.
Nationwide Waiver to Allow Summer Food Service Program Reimbursement Rates in School Year 2021-22
Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-Congregate Meal Service for School Year 2021-22
Nationwide Waiver of Meal Times Requirements for School Year 2021-22
Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children for School Year 2021-22
Nationwide Waiver to Allow Specific School Meal Pattern Flexibility for School Year 2021-22
Nationwide Waiver to Allow Offer Versus Serve Flexibility for Senior High Schools in School Year 2021-22
Health and Nutrition Services (HNS) submitted the annual request to USDA to extend the following waivers through PY22 summer operations. All four waivers are approved for SFSP operation. Applications for Closed Enrolled Sites requirement and Mealtime restrictions apply to SSO operations.
Meal Service Time Restrictions requirements under 7 CFR 225.16(c)(1) and (c)(2)
Offer Versus Serve requirement at 42 U.S.C.1761(f)(7) and 7 CFR 225.16(f)(1)(ii)
Applications for Closed Enrolled Sites requirement at 42 U.S.C. 1761(a)(1)(A)(i)(III) and 7 CFR 225.15(f)
First Week Site Visits requirement at 7 CFR 225.15(d)(2)
upLIFT is a platform created by Health and Nutrition Services to provide program operators information and resources to Learn, be Inspired, Feed participants and Teach your colleagues about the importance of good nutrition and child nutrition programs. upLIFT will focus on summer operations during April, May and June.
April upLIFT is a presentation from STAR School which will cover scratch cooking with local foods to enrich summer menus (Recording) (Slides)
May upLIFT is a presentation from Cave Creek Unified District which will discus how they continuously aim to make meals as interesting and appealing as possible for their students as well as generate excitement for summer meal service and attract participants to their summer meal sites. (Recording) (Slides)
June upLIFT is a presentation from ADE Health and Nutrition Services about highlighting summer menus. This presentation includes information on the outstanding summer menu award Turnip the Beet. The Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to offer high quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious during the summer months. Last summer’s Turnip the Beet nominee was Fowler School District. (Recording) (Slides)
The Summer 2022 HNS Farm Fresh Challenge is an HNS initiative designed to empower summer program operators to cultivate excitement around fresh and locally sourced foods. Participating operators must complete a series of challenges from that promote the tasting, teaching, and connection of participants to foods local to Arizona. Use #AZF2S or #FarmFreshAZ to expand the reach of your promotional efforts on social media!
How do I become a Challenge Champion?
To be a 2022 Challenge Champion, you must complete all activities within a one-week timeframe between June 1 and June 25. At the end of summer meal services, all operators will receive an email via HNS Communications with a link to a survey where you will report details about your challenge participation. Operators who successfully completed the Summer 2022 HNS Farm Fresh Challenge will be recognized by ADE.
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is excited to announce a new partnership with the Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, and Whole Kids Foundation! These organizations are part of the newly formed ScratchWorks Collective and are dedicated to improving the quality of school meals and love sharing their expertise with school nutrition professionals. These partners look forward to supporting 10 Arizona Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in a three-phase program to help operators regain their kitchens and menus as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chef Ann Foundation will kick-off this collaborative work by sending a culinary trained school food operational expert to each of the selected LEAs for a one-day on-site consultation to create a two-year plan with built-in mentoring designed to transform your kitchens, develop your staff, and take control of your finances to support the menu of your dreams.