Montgomery County News, Arkansas -

Applications available for Summer food program

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) within the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) operates the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) for Arkansas.

According to officials from DHS, applications for the 2020 SFSP will be processed in two phases, beginning in January 2020.  Phase one, applications for schools and government sponsors will open on January 13, 2020. Phase two, applications for all other providers will open February 17, 2020.  The deadline for all applications to be submitted is April 30, 2020. You are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

The SFSP operates through DHS to provide food services to children from needy areas during periods when area schools are closed. The program ensures that these children have nutritious meals when school is out. Last year, 64 percent of the eligible children in Arkansas did not receive meals during the summer months. 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.  In Arkansas, there are 36 counties listed as having underserved areas as designated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Youth ages 18 and younger or people over 18 determined by the State educational agency or a local public educational agency 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 are eligible to receive meals at approved summer feeding sites.

Providers of the SFSP may be a sponsoring organization of a public or private non-profit school food authority (SFA); 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 SFSP.

SFSP 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                       
  • Monitor all sites
  • Locate and recruit eligible sites
  • Prepare claims for reimbursement
  • Hire, train, and supervise staff and volunteers                                                  
  • Ensure that the sites are sustainable
  • Competitively procure food to be prepared or delivered                                  
  • Maintain all program documents for 3 years, plus the current year

The deadline for all applications is Monday, April 30, 2020. Please call 501-682-8869 to receive program technical assistance to submit an SFSP application or visit

To find sites across the state to help children and adults in need of free food, Arkansans can visit, Call 1-800-5HUNGRY, or text their ZIP code to 1-800-548-6479.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer

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