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
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
- 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.
- 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 http://www.census.gov/acs. 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 https://www.fns.usda.gov/area-eligibility. The area eligibility map can be used to see if a potential site is in an area where it can be an open site.
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
in SSO the SFA will be required to complete and submit a schedule C-22. Please
submit all schedule Cs to ADE.CNU-A-PS@ade.arkansas.gov. The schedule C must be approved by CNU
prior to the serving and claiming summer meals for reimbursement.
3: Summer Food Service
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.
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.
required to inform families of the availability and location of free summer
food service program meals for students when school is not in session.
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 https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-meals-toolkit.
Area Specialist via email or at 501-324-9502 for further details.