Children age 18 and under may receive meals through SFSP. A person nineteen years of age and over who is determined by a state or local educational agency to have a mental or physical disability, and who participates during the school year in a public or private nonprofit school program established for the mentally or physically disabled, is also eligible to receive meals.
To be eligible to participate in the SFSP, every potential organization must meet certain requirements. One of these requirements is that the organization must be:
- a public or private nonprofit school food authority;
- a public or private nonprofit residential private camp;
- a public or private nonprofit college or university participating in the National Youth Sports Program;
- a unit of local, county, municipal, state or federal government; or,
- any other type of private nonprofit organization.
By law these private nonprofit organizations are limited as to the location of their sites. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can provide more specific details about the conditions under which these organizations may participate.
All private nonprofit sponsors must be tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and all sponsors must demonstrate the administrative and financial ability to manage a food service effectively at their sites. Generally, sponsors must provide a year-round public service to the area in which they intend to provide the SFSP.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may grant exceptions to this year-round service requirement for sponsors of residential camps, migrant sites, and in certain other limited circumstances. Consult the SFSP for more information.
Potential sponsors must demonstrate that they have the necessary financial and administrative capability to meet SFSP objectives and to comply with program regulations. They must also accept final financial and administrative responsibility for all sites under their sponsorship.
Units of government and private nonprofit organizations must certify on the application for participation that they have direct operational control over all sites under their sponsorship. Direct operational control means that the sponsor is responsible for managing site staff, including such areas as hiring, determining conditions of employment and termination, and for exercising management control over SFSP operations at sites during the period of program participation.
Management responsibilities cannot be delegated below the sponsor level. The quality of the meal service, the conduct of site personnel, and the adequacy of record-keeping reflect directly upon the sponsor's performance. This performance is subject to review by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of the Inspector General, and by the General Accounting Office.
Sponsors may operate the SFSP at one or more "open" or "enrolled" sites - the physical locations where program meals are served to children and at which children consume meals in a supervised setting.
If a sponsor intends to operate the program at a site where an accredited summer school program is in session, the sponsor must ensure that the food service is open to all children residing in the area served by the site. The sponsor is encouraged to make a reasonable effort to promote the availability of SFSP to the children in the surrounding community. If an accredited summer school site is not open to the children of the community and provides meals only to enrolled summer school students, the site is not eligible to participate in SFSP. In such cases, it would be more appropriate for the school food authority to continue to serve meals through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.