Research has shown that eating nutritious meals throughout the day is directly linked not only to a student’s academic performance, but a child’s mood and behavior. The Cleveland Clinic provides research that shows that specifically without breakfast, students of all ages may feel irritable and tired, which can lead to behavior and attention issues throughout the day; with breakfast, a student’s brain has the fuel they need to perform and learn (Cleveland Clinic 2020). Additionally, providing school lunch is critical to student health and well-being, especially for low-income students – and also ensures that students have the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. Receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces food insecurity, obesity rates, and poor health (Food Research and Action Center).
BCPS recognizes that nutrition needs don’t disappear once the school year wraps up. This is why we offer the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally-funded, state-administered program that reimburses providers who serve free, nutritious meals and snacks to children and teens in low-income areas when school is not in session. This food service program provides an opportunity to continue a child’s physical and social development while providing nutritious meals during long vacation periods from school, helping students to return to school ready to learn (USDA Food and Nutrition Services).
SFSP is offered to children and teens aged 18 and under, as well as to individuals 19-21 years of age who have a mental or physical disability and still participate in a school program. This program is free to eligible children and families, and there is no need to enroll; students simply show up at an open site at the time of meal service.
Mr. Todd Crumbacker, Director of School Nutrition Services, says, “Through the SFSP program, we are able to provide free meals to feed children in our demographic areas that have the highest need for nutritional services.”
The SFSP is offered on weekdays from June 12-30 and July 10-21, and the menu can be found here. Open sites will be held at various locations yet to be announced; information will be released through the following medias: