Washington, DC–To provide healthy summer meals to District of Columbia children from low-income areas or with disabilities, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has released an overview of the application requirements and recruitment measures currently underway for the District of Columbia’s Free Summer Meals Program.
“Just as learning should not cease when school is out for the summer, neither should access to good nutrition,” said State Superintendent Hosanna Mahaley. “OSSE is committed to ensuring children in the District have yearlong access to healthy meals and we look forward to working with partner organizations to carry out our mission.”
Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the OSSE Division of Wellness and Nutrition Services, the DC Free Summer Meals Program allows District children in under-served low-income areas to receive up to two meals a day during the extended summer break, when they do not have access to breakfast or lunch normally provided during the school year. All children participating in the program are served meals free of charge, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business.
Organizations eligible to participate in the 2012 DC Free Summer Meals Program include public or private nonprofit school food authorities, faith-based and community-based organizations, housing authorities and other units of local or municipal governments, and public or private nonprofit day or overnight summer camps.
In accordance with USDA guidelines, organizations may be reimbursed for serving up to two meals per day to eligible children ages 18 and younger.
In 2011, Washington, DC ranked first nationally in childhood summer nutrition for participation, meals distributed and number of children served, reaching 80 percent of low-income children in the District that qualify for free and reduced price meals, compared to a national average of only 15 percent.
“Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process” added Mahaley. “The Free Summer Meals Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and ensure children get the nutritious meals they need.”
Sponsor and Host Site Applications for the 201 DC Free Summer Meals Program are available online at www.osse.dc.gov