Press Releases

Minnesota Department of Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 3, 2017
 Emily Bisek, (651) 582-8554

Minnesota Department of Education Seeks Sponsors for 2017 Summer Food Service Program

ROSEVILLE – During the school year, many Minnesota families depend on free or reduced-price meals their children get at school to provide nourishment. When school is out, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) bridges the “nutrition gap.”

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is looking for organizations to sponsor the 2017 SFSP and provide free meals to Minnesota children 18 and under during the summer when school is out. There are many underserved areas in need of a sponsor to operate a summer feeding site, especially in greater Minnesota. Sponsors receive training, technical assistance and reimbursement for providing meals to children 18 and under in areas of economic need.

“In order for students to succeed in school, they need to be ready to learn- year round,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Unfortunately, too many students in Minnesota not only fall behind for school the next year, but also in their nutrition. I encourage everyone to come together to help make sure students don’t grow hungry over the summer and come to school ready to learn.”

Program sites are often located at local schools, recreation and community centers, parks and other locations operated by youth, cultural and faith-based organizations.

In Minnesota during summer 2016, almost 200 schools and organizations operated over 870 SFSP sites and served almost 3 million meals to children 18 and under. The summer meals program currently reaches 17 percent of low-income children, so MDE is looking to grow the program with the help of new sponsors.

A sponsoring organization must be a:

· Public or nonprofit private school food authority

· Public or nonprofit private residential summer camp

· Unit of local, municipal, county or state government

· Public or nonprofit college or university

Interested schools and nonprofit organizations may register their interest by submitting the Interest Survey for New Participants. Complete the survey.

An informational meeting called Summer Meals for Children will be held from 1- 3:00 pm on March 2 at the Minnesota Department of Education, Conference Center B, Room CC-17, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, MN 55113. This information meeting provides an opportunity for interested schools and non-profit organizations to learn about the Summer Food Service Program for children. The event provides an overview of the program requirements and an opportunity to ask questions and learn from current participants about their summer meal programs. Register online for Summer Meals for Children Informational Meeting.

Summer Food Service Program Basics Workshops are offered for new and renewing sponsors. They will be held throughout the state from March 29- April 27. Locations include Roseville, Walker, Grand Rapids, Marshall, Shoreview and Rochester. Summer Food Service Program Refresher Workshops will be held in Roseville, Walker, Grand Rapids and Marshall. Interested organizations are asked to register at least two weeks in advance of a workshop. In order to hold a workshop, 10 groups must be registered two weeks before the workshop. Check MDE’s website for details.

To request a reasonable accommodation to participate in any of the above events, contact Liane Jensen at 651-582-8526 or Note: MDE requires a two-week advance notice in order to provide the requested accommodation and requires a 48-hour notice to cancel a requested accommodation.

If you have any questions, please contact MDE-Food and Nutrition Service at 651-582-8526, 1-800-366-8922 (MN Toll-free), or

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. View USDA’s nondiscrimination statement.