Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Summer Feeding 2022

Memo Information

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

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

Summer Meal Programs are established to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) continues to offer two options for public schools to feed students after the regular school year ends. A list of summer meal programs may be found on the USDA website: Find Meals for Kids When Schools are Closed | Food and Nutrition Service (


Option 1: Regular Summer Meals Program

Serves breakfast and lunch as a continuation of the regular school meal programs.  Any of the child nutrition programs (breakfast, lunch, or afterschool snack) may be served as part of the summer educational programs operated by the school district.  With the regular summer meals program, the collection procedure approved in the current 2021-2022 Agreement and Policy Statement must be used to collect money and count/claim the students by eligibility category or updated to meet summer collection and meal count procedures. The regular summer meals program may be operated by any public school regardless of the percentage of children receiving free and reduced-price meals.


Option 2: Seamless Summer Option (SSO)

Serves a combination of two of the following programs: breakfast, lunch, or snack. SSO may be operated in a site, or in the attendance area of a site with 50% or more students are eligible for free and reduced priced meals.


Establishing Area Eligibility

  1. School site free/reduced data: School data submitted on the Cycle 2 report to DESE will be used to establish area eligibility for the CNU SSO, excluding camps. Area eligibility must indicate that the proposed meal location is within a school attendance area where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price school meals.  
  2. Census data: SFAs may document the area eligibility of their proposed open or restricted open sites based on census data. SSO sites that choose to establish eligibility using census data are required to use the most recent data available:  7 CFR 226.6(f); 7 CFR 225.6(c); SP 09 and 10-2017; the United States Census Bureau tool; and USDA Area Eligibility Map using the Census Bureau data.   
  • For Census Bureau data visit Under the Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS), new five-year estimates are made available each year. The duration of determination for site eligibility based on census data is 5 years.
  • For the map using census data visit The area eligibility map can be used to see if a potential site is in an area where it can be an open site.

Census Block Groups are the geographical unit used to access eligibility for SSO when using census data. Fifty percent or more of the children in a census block group must be eligible for free/reduced price school meals to establish area eligibility.

To participate in SSO the SFA will be required to complete and submit a schedule C-22. Please submit all schedule Cs to The schedule C must be approved by CNU prior to the serving and claiming summer meals for reimbursement.

Option 3: Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

This option is available to SFAs interested in administering a summer feeding program. The SFSP program is administered by the Department of Human services (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, 2022. 

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.



SFAs are required to inform families of the availability and location of free summer food service program meals for students when school is not in session.

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


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

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