Specific state policy changes to the summer nutrition programs have included:
- Requiring schools to conduct outreach to families
- Requiring schools to offer summer meals programs
- Providing waivers to streamline administrative processes
- Encouraging data sharing between state agencies and non-profit partners
- Expanding the use of census data for area eligibility determinations
The following table provides information about passed summer meals legislation. Links are included to the language of each bill.
Passed Legislation: Summer Meals
|Florida||2013||Mandate||Requires participation in the summer meals program for school districts within 5 miles of at least one elementary school at which 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and for the duration of 35 consecutive days.|
|Illinois||2013||Mandate||Requires participation in the summer meals program for school districts that have a summer school program operating during the summer months in a school where 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals must serve breakfast and/or lunch to the children in their summer school program along with opening their doors to the community.|
|Maine||2013||Mandate||Requires participation in the summer meals program for school administrative units with at least one public school in which at least 50% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.|
|Massachusetts||2013||Funding||For summer meals sponsors seeking to sponsor new summer meal sites and extend number of operating days.|
|Minnesota||2013||Funding||Supplemental meal reimbursement for summer meals sponsors.|
|Nebraska||2012||Funding||Supports program expansion for summer meals sponsors.|
|New York||2012||Funding||Supplemental meal reimbursement for summer meals sponsors.|
|Ohio||2012 (Amended)||Mandate||Requires community schools with at least one-fifth of students eligible under for free breakfasts to establish a summer intervention that includes summer meals programs.|
|Ohio||2017||Mandate||Requires schools with at least 50% free or reduced price eligible students to allow a sponsor to use its facilities to provide summer meals if the school chooses not to administer the program itself. Legislation can be found by clicking on "Legislation Text", page 863.|
|Oregon||2014||Funding||For summer meals programs to purchase equipment, meet health and safety regulations, provide program activities, or fund outreach activities and materials.|
|Texas||2011||Mandate||Requires school districts where 50 percent or more of the students are eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program to participate in the summer meals program for at least 30 days during the period in which district schools are recessed for the summer.|
|Vermont||2010||Mandate||Requires school districts to participate in the summer meals program- if they operate a summer program for at least 15 hours per week and at least one school in the district has a student population at least 50 percent of which is eligible for free or reduced-price meals.|
|Washington||2005||Mandate||Requires a school district to implement a summer food service program in each public school in the district in which a summer program of academic, enrichment is provided and in which fifty percent or more of the children enrolled in the school qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.|
Sample Summer Meals Proclamation provides example languages that state leaders, policy makers and other crucial community stakeholders can use to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity among low-income school-aged children during the summer time when school is closed. It also highlights the vitality of the summer meals program in tackling hunger and food insecurity during the summer time while helping children to be ready and thrive in the school year.
2017-2018 State-Level Policy and Legislative Trends outlines major legislative and policy initiatives introduced across states in their respective annual legislative sessions. This resource focuses on three federal nutrition assistance programs and major legislative trends introduced: School Breakfast Program (SBP), Summer Food Service Program(SFSP), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The USDA has provided guidance for the types of requirements that may or may not be waived, as well as the process for submitting a waiver request in the USDA SFSP Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol. USDA has also made available the USDA Excessive Heat Demo Q&As to give guidance to sponsors that would like to provide non-congregate meal service to children at sites experiencing excessive heat.
In Spring 2012, No Kid Hungry North Carolina requested a waiver to simplify the application and reporting process for school districts to participate in the SFSP. The North Carolina Summer Meals Waiver Case Study provides detailed information on the process and experience. USDA approved the request and in the fall of that same year extended most of the North Carolina waiver elements nationally. Summer Food Service Program--North Carolina Waiver Request provides a copy of this request that was ultimately approved.