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Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
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Less than 15 percent of children who qualify for free or reduced-priced school lunches in Arkansas are getting the same high-quality meals in the summer. Children shouldn’t go hungry just because school is out. Your organization can help by participating in the Summer Food Service Program. The program is 100 percent federally funded and covers the cost of up to three nutritious meals and snacks a day for children. We’ll provide your organization with all the training and technical assistance needed to start and operate a summer food program because we want to make sure you succeed. Success equals fewer hungry children! Ready to get started?

Let’s see if you’re eligible to sponsor a program. Organizations that can serve as sponsors must be:
  • A public school food authority,
  • A public or nonprofit private residential summer camp,
  • Units of a local, city, county, tribal or state government,
  • A public or private nonprofit college or university that participates in the National Youth Sports Program, or
  • A Private, nonprofit (501[c][3]) organization.

Now that we know whether your organization is eligible, there are a few other steps you need to take to become a sponsor.
  • Answer prescreen questions here
  • Once that is completed, the Special Nutrition staff will contact you with log-in information for the online application that can be found here
  • Attend a sponsor training
  • Ensure your site is located within a school attendance area in which at least 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. Your local school district or the Special Nutrition Unit of the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education can provide you with that information.
  • Your organization can manage the program efficiently by attending training, following USDA regulations and contacting your specialist when in doubt.

What else do you need to be a sponsor?
  • Kids: Children 18 years old and under, along with people up to 21 years old participating in state education programs for the mentally or physically disabled, can receive summer meals.
  • Meal Sites: Sites are usually parks, schools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, community centers, churches, apartment complexes or day camps. They will be approved as "eligible" during the application process.
  • Staff: Employees are needed to manage meal sites, prepare meals and administer the Summer Food Program. Employees can be volunteers or paid with funds leftover after food is purchased. Among the employees needed area bookkeeper to compile financial and administrative records, management to ensure the sites are well organized and easy to manage, and staff willing to coordinate and communicate with Summer Food Program staff to receive technical assistance and needed support.

What other responsibilities do sponsors have?

As a sponsor, there are program regulations and policies (both at the Federal and State Agency level) to ensure the program is run accordingly. The most important of these include:
  • Serving meals that meet USDA standards as well as State policies and procedures,
  • Training all personnel working at a meal site,
  • Maintaining records related to meal production, meal counts, sponsor finances and nutrition education, and
  • Adhering to all contractual agreements made with the Special Nutrition Program and the Department of Human Services.

Still have questions? Contact:
Special Nutrition Programs

Summer Food Service Program
P.O. Box 1437, Slot S-155
Little Rock, AR 72203-1437
(501) 682-8869 1-800-482-5850 ext. 28869

The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department, (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at ,or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form.  Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at .

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

For Additional Information:

Special Nutrition Programs
P.O. Box 1437, Slot S-155
Little Rock, AR 72203-1437
(501) 682-8869     1-800-482-5850 ext. 28869