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State Education Office Conducts Food Tasting Fair for Free DC Summer Meals Program

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Fair Provides Opportunity to Assess Food Quality and Gives Guidance in Selecting Vendors

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia’s Free Summer Meals Program (FSMP) administered by the DC State Education Office (SEO), Nutrition Services Program (NS) will be conducting a Food Tasting Fair for meals to be served to children and certain adults with disabilities from June 15, 2006 through August 31, 2006. During the summer of 2005, over 1.2 million meals were served. This represents a 7.1% increase in the number of meals provided to children at risk of hunger from 2004. The Food Tasting Fair will take place, Thursday, March 30 at Beacon House, 601 Edgewood Street, NE, Suite 15, Washington, DC 20017, between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

The goal of the Food Tasting Fair is to provide FSMP sponsors and youth with the opportunity to assess the quality of food presented to them and to help guide FSMP sponsors in their vendor selection process. “The quality and taste of the food is important in attracting and retaining the participation of youth who rely on the Free Summer Meals Program for nutritional meals,” states Dr. Cynthia Bell, Director of the Nutrition Services Program.

Eligible organizations that can serve as FSMP sponsors include public or private nonprofit school food authorities, housing authorities and other units of local or municipal governments, and public or private nonprofit day or overnight summer camps. In accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, organizations may be reimbursed for serving up to two meals per day to eligible children age 18 or younger.

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.