LITTLE ROCK — The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) is seeking non-profit organizations, schools, camps, and government agencies to apply to serve as summer feeding sites in Arkansas through the Summer Food Service Program.

“Our goal is to have summer feeding sites in every county because we know that it can be harder for students to get healthy meals when school is out,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams. “This program helps bridge that gap so that children don’t go hungry.”

Applications for the 2020 SFSP will be processed in two phases, beginning in January 2020. In phase one, schools and government sponsors can apply beginning Jan. 13, 2020. In phase wo, all other providers can apply beginning Feb. 17, 2020. The deadline to submit all applications is April 30, 2020.

To qualify, applicants need to be financially viable, administratively capable, and accountable for their programs. They also need to be in an area where at least 50 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced school lunches. The application to apply can be found here.

The summer food program operates through DHS to provide food services to children from needy areas during periods when area schools are closed. Last year, however nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the eligible children in Arkansas did not receive meals through the program during.

Almost every county in Arkansas has geographical areas defined by the most recent Census as 185 percent of the poverty level for children less than 19 years old. Approximately half of the counties in Arkansas (36 counties) are listed as having underserved areas as designated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Youth ages 18 and younger, as well as people over 18 who are deemed either mentally or physically handicapped and who participate in a public or private non-profit school established for mentally or physically handicapped persons (as determined by the State educational agency or a local public educational agency), are eligible to receive meals at approved summer feeding sites.

Summer food providers may be a sponsoring organization of a public or private non-profit school food authority; a public or private non-profit college or university; a public or private non-profit residential summer camp; a unit of local, county, municipal, State, or Federal Government; or any other type of private non-profit organization. Sponsors must provide their tax-exempt status and must demonstrate the administrative and financial ability to manage a food service program effectively. Sponsors must provide a year-round public service to the area in which they intend to provide the food.

Sponsors must be able to assume responsibility for the entire administration of the program. As a sponsor, an organization at a minimum will:

• Attend the State agency’s training

• Locate and recruit eligible sites

• Hire, train, and supervise staff and volunteers

• Competitively procure food to be prepared or delivered

• Monitor all sites

• Prepare claims for reimbursement

• Ensure that the sites are sustainable

• Maintain all program documents for 3 years, plus the current year

Providers should call 501-682-8869 to get technical assistance submitting an application or visit https://dhs.arkansas.gov/dccece/snp/SummerInfoM.aspx.

To find sites to help children and adults in need of free food, Arkansans can visit www.whyhunger.org, call 800-5HUNGRY, or text their ZIP code to 800-548-6479.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider/employer.

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