Texas Summer Food Program

Texas Summer Food Program

To Be Well Read ... You Must Be Well Fed

Public Libraries and the USDA Summer Food Service Program

Summer is the hungriest time of the year. During the school year, 2.8 million Texas students receive free or reduced-priced meals, yet only a fraction of these children receive free meals during the summer. Without consistent and quality nutrition, they are more likely to become sick, have less energy, and have difficulty focusing on reading and learning. These children may fall further behind in reading and experience more summer learning loss. The good news is that free and healthy meals are available to children and teens through age 18 at Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites throughout Texas and the U.S.

The SFSP is a federally funded program that enables libraries, school districts, churches, WIC clinics, and other eligible organizations to serve free, healthy meals to low-income children and teens through age 18 during the summer months. The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture and is available in areas where at least 50% of children are eligible for free and reduced price lunch.

Too many Texas children do not know if there will be food for their next meal. As trusted public spaces and community centers, libraries are at the heart of their communities and they welcome children during summer vacations. Libraries can help alleviate food insecurity by participating in the SFSP and serving meals and snacks to hungry children in conjunction with their summer programs. Furthermore, participation in summer programs increases, and new families visit libraries and discover valuable resources and services. On the other hand, libraries can bring resources and art, literacy, and STEM programs to SFSP sites at schools and other organizations in their communities. However it’s executed, through this essential and underutilized program, libraries nourish children's bodies, educate their minds, enrich their lives, and support success in school and beyond as highlighted by Commissioner Sid Miller of the Texas Department of Agriculture in his Invitation (Opens PDF Doc) to Texas Public Libraries to participate.

For questions regarding implementing the USDA Summer Food Service Program, please contact:

The Texas Department of Agriculture information line at (877) TEX-MEAL or 877-839-6325 will direct you to the appropriate Child Nutrition Staff in your area for assistance.

Page last modified: October 5, 2023