Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education 2021 Summer Feeding Programs

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7 CFR Parts 210, 220, 225
Response Required
Superintendents; Principals; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text



The Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) continues to offer two options for School Food Authorities (SFAs) to feed students after the regular school year ends and summer begins. 

All SFAs have been approved to continue administering the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through June 30, 2021 utilizing all waivers opted in during the 2020-2021 regular school year.  As a reminder, these waivers expire June 30, 2021, so if the SFA would like to continue feeding after June 30, 2021, the following options are available.

Option 1 – Regular Summer Meal Program available to begin July 1, 2021:

SFAs operating an academic summer school may use the Regular summer meals program.  All existing breakfast, lunch and/or afterschool snack program(s) may continue throughout the summer months using eligibility determinations established in the 2020-2021 school year. The Regular summer meals program may be operated by any public school regardless of the percentage of children receiving free and reduced-price meals.  Meals must be claimed according to the meal status of the student; therefore, the claim may include free, reduced, and paid meals for reimbursement.

SFAs must follow the meal pattern requirements for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and/or Afterschool Snack Program (ASSP).

How to apply: SFAs interested in operating Option 1 must contact their Area Specialist for further details.

Option 2 –SSO to continue past July 1, 2021:

SFAs operating summer feeding may also apply for SSO.  An academic or enrichment component is not required under SSO. Two meal programs may be administered and all meals are allowed to be claimed at the free rate if the SFA is determined to be area eligible. In order for a site to be determined area eligible, school data must indicate that the proposed meal site is located in the attendance area of a school where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price school meals.

Area eligibility is determined using school data for meal status submitted in the most recent Cycle 2 report or through census data.
For Census Bureau data visit
For map using census data visit

SFAs must follow the meal pattern requirements for the NSLP, SBP, and/or ASSP.

How to apply: SFAs interested in operating Option 2 must contact their Area Specialist for further details.
CNU will review and approve a C-21 for each site administering meal service.

Option 3: Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP):

A third option is available to SFAs interested in administering a summer feeding program. The SFSP program is administered by the DHS, Special Nutrition Program.

You may contact the Special Nutrition Program for further details at 501-682-8869.  Online applications are available at the Special Nutrition Program website.

The deadline for the DHS, SFSP application is April 30, 2021 at 4:30 p.m

If two or more applicants apply to serve summer meals to children in the same area, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulation 7 CFR 225.6 (b)(5) specifies the State Agency must use a priority system in approving applicants. 

Summer Program Participation:

After June 30, 2021, CNU will not allow SFAs to claim meals without an approved C-21.  Please allow up to two weeks for approval.

According to USDA guidance issued in policy memo SP 09-2017, CNU cannot approve SSO or Regular summer meals program participation in school district programs that have unresolved program administration issues such as school breakfast, lunch, or snack program violations documented by Administrative Review (AR) or Legislative Audit findings. 

SFAs that contract with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC) may allow the FSMC to utilize options offered during the summer months if the approved FSMC contract allows. SFAs should be reminded that the SFA maintains responsibility for submitting claims and is accountable for ensuring that all rules and regulations are followed.


All SFAs are required to inform their constituents of summer meal programs that are available even if there are no programs available in the immediate area.  Schools and sponsors are encouraged to make use of USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) resources, including the “SFSP Outreach Toolkit for Sponsors and Sites,” which includes fliers, letters to parents, and other materials that help sponsors raise awareness of the Program among children and their families. The Outreach Toolkit can be found at  

Additional USDA FNS resources, including fliers, door hangers, public service radio announcements, and training videos are available at

Contact your Area Specialist via email or at 501-324-9502 for further details.


CNU Schedule C-21

USDA Memo SP 09-2017 – 2017 Edition of Questions and Answers for the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option

USDA Memo SP 08-2017 – Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs;

USDA Memo SP 10-2017 – Meal Service Requirements in the Summer Meal Programs, with Questions and Answers - Revised

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