Colorado Summer Food Service Program

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Colorado Summer Food Service Program
Colorado Summer Food Service Program

What is this Colorado Summer Food Service Program

The Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federal program that aims to ensure that children in low-income areas have access to nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session. Administered by the Colorado Department of Education and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program provides free, nutritious meals to children 18 years and younger at approved sites.

Colorado Special Supplemental Nutrition Program

Purpose Of The Colorado Summer Food Service Program

The purpose of the Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is to address the nutritional needs of children during the summer months, particularly those from low-income families. The program aims to achieve several important goals:

  • Mitigate Summer Hunger: One of the primary purposes of the SFSP is to mitigate the impact of summer hunger. During the school year, many children receive meals through school-based nutrition programs, and the SFSP helps fill the gap that can occur when schools are not in session.
  • Ensure Access to Nutritious Meals: The SFSP is designed to ensure that children have access to nutritious and balanced meals during the summer. By providing free meals at approved sites, the program helps meet the dietary needs of children, supporting their growth and development.
  • Address Food Insecurity: Food insecurity, especially among low-income families, can become more pronounced during the summer break. The SFSP aims to address food insecurity by offering meals at no cost to eligible children, alleviating the financial burden on families.
  • Promote Health and Well-being: Nutritious meals provided through the SFSP contribute to the health and well-being of participating children. The program follows federal nutrition guidelines to ensure that meals offer essential nutrients crucial for growth, cognitive development, and overall health.
  • Reach Vulnerable Populations: The SFSP is specifically designed to reach children in low-income areas or communities where a significant number of families face economic challenges. By targeting vulnerable populations, the program aims to reduce disparities in access to nutritious food.
  • Eliminate Barriers to Access: The SFSP eliminates barriers to access by providing meals at no charge and without individual registration or income verification. This inclusivity ensures that all eligible children in the community can benefit from the program.
  • Support Educational and Recreational Activities: Some SFSP sites may incorporate educational and recreational activities alongside meal services. This holistic approach aims to create a positive and engaging environment for children, promoting learning and physical activity during the summer.
  • Collaborate with Community Partners: The program encourages collaboration with community partners, including school districts, local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities. These partnerships help establish meal sites, promote the program, and extend its reach.
  • Raise Awareness of Available Resources: Community outreach efforts associated with the SFSP aim to raise awareness among families about the availability of free summer meals. By informing families about the program and the locations of meal sites, the SFSP ensures that those who can benefit are aware of the resources.
  • Contribute to Child Development: Nutritious meals provided by the SFSP contribute to the overall development of children, supporting their physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. This, in turn, helps create a foundation for future success.

In summary, the Colorado Summer Food Service Program serves a vital purpose in addressing summer hunger, promoting health, and supporting the well-being of children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. It represents a collaborative effort to ensure that children have access to nutritious meals during a critical time when school-based meal programs are not available.

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Colorado Summer Food Service Program Benefits

The Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offers several benefits to eligible children and communities during the summer months. Here are the key benefits of the program:

  • Nutritious Meals: The SFSP provides access to nutritious meals, including breakfasts, lunches, snacks, or a combination of these, depending on the site. These meals follow federal nutrition guidelines to ensure that children receive essential nutrients for their health and development.
  • Free Meals for Eligible Children: Eligible children, typically aged 18 and younger, receive meals at no cost. The program eliminates financial barriers, ensuring that all eligible children, regardless of their economic status, have access to healthy food during the summer.
  • Mitigation of Summer Hunger: The SFSP helps mitigate the impact of summer hunger, addressing the challenge that arises when schools are not in session. By providing meals during the summer break, the program contributes to reducing food insecurity among participating children.
  • Accessibility in Low-Income Areas: The SFSP targets low-income areas and communities where a significant number of families face economic challenges. By establishing meal sites in these areas, the program reaches those who may be most vulnerable to food insecurity.
  • Elimination of Registration and Income Verification: The program eliminates the need for individual registration or income verification, making it accessible to all eligible children in the community. This inclusivity ensures that families facing economic challenges can easily access the program.
  • Promotion of Healthy Eating Habits: Through the provision of nutritious meals and associated educational efforts, the SFSP promotes healthy eating habits among participating children. Nutrition education may include information on the importance of balanced diets and making healthy food choices.
  • Community Engagement: The SFSP often involves community engagement activities, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. By bringing people together through shared meals and activities, the program contributes to building community connections.
  • Educational and Recreational Opportunities: Some SFSP sites offer educational and recreational activities alongside meal services. This provides participating children with opportunities for learning, physical activity, and social interaction during the summer break.
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations: The program often forms partnerships with local organizations, including schools, community centers, and non-profit groups. These partnerships help establish and maintain meal sites, extending the reach of the program.
  • Reduced Health Disparities: By addressing nutritional needs in low-income areas, the SFSP contributes to reducing health disparities among children. Access to nutritious meals during the summer supports overall health and well-being.
  • Ease of Access for Families: Families benefit from the ease of access to free summer meals without complicated enrollment procedures. This simplifies the process for parents and caregivers, ensuring that eligible children receive the necessary nutrition.

In summary, the Colorado Summer Food Service Program provides critical benefits by offering nutritious meals, eliminating financial barriers, and promoting the health and well-being of eligible children in low-income communities during the summer months.

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About Colorado Summer Food Service Program

Here are some general aspects of the SFSP and how it typically operates:

  • Purpose: The SFSP is a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Its primary goal is to ensure that children who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year have access to nutritious meals during the summer months.
  • Eligibility: SFSP serves children and teens up to 18 years old in low-income areas, regardless of their individual family income. Some sites may also serve meals to people with disabilities over 18 who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled.
  • Meal Types: SFSP provides free, nutritious meals, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks, to participating children. These meals must meet specific nutritional requirements established by the USDA.
  • Operational Sites: SFSP operates at various sites such as schools, community centers, parks, and other locations where children congregate during the summer. These sites are selected to reach areas with a high concentration of low-income families.
  • Local Implementation: The program is implemented at the state and local levels. In Colorado, the Department of Education or a similar agency is typically responsible for administering the SFSP. Local organizations, such as schools, nonprofits, or local government agencies, often operate the actual meal sites.
  • Community Outreach: To ensure that families are aware of the program and its benefits, there is usually a concerted effort for community outreach. Information about SFSP sites, meal times, and other relevant details is often communicated through local schools, community organizations, and government agencies.
  • Summer Enrichment Activities: Some SFSP sites may offer additional activities beyond meals, such as educational and recreational programs, to keep children engaged and provide a more comprehensive summer experience.

To get specific details about the Colorado Summer Food Service Program, including the locations of meal sites and operating schedules, you can visit the Colorado Department of Education’s website or contact relevant local authorities. They typically provide updated information, including site directories, as the summer season approaches.

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Who is eligible for Summer Food Service Program for Colorado?

All youth 18 years and younger are eligible to receive meals at participating sites throughout the summer.

Colorado Summer Food Service Program Income Limits

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (Per Year)
1$26,973
2$36,482
3$45,991
4$55,500
5$65,009
6$74,518
7$84,027
8$93,536

For households with more than eight people, add $9,509 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

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Documents required for Colorado Summer Food Service Program


The specific documentation requirements for the Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) may vary depending on the participating organization, such as school districts, non-profit organizations, or local government agencies. However, in general, the SFSP typically involves coordination between sponsors and the Colorado Department of Education. The documentation may include:

  • Application Form: Sponsors, which can include school districts, non-profit organizations, and local government entities, may be required to submit an application form to participate in the SFSP. This form provides essential information about the sponsor and its plans for operating meal sites.
  • Site Information: Details about the proposed meal sites are typically required. This may include information on the locations where meals will be served, the anticipated number of eligible children in the area, and the accessibility of the sites to the target population.
  • Meal Plan: Sponsors are often required to submit a meal plan that outlines the types of meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks) that will be offered and ensures compliance with federal nutrition guidelines. The plan may include sample menus and information on the nutritional content of the meals.
  • Budget Information: Sponsors may need to provide budget information related to the operation of the SFSP. This could include details about projected costs for food, staffing, transportation (if applicable), and other program-related expenses.
  • Training Documentation: Documentation related to the training of staff involved in the SFSP may be required. This ensures that individuals responsible for meal preparation, service, and other program activities are adequately trained to meet program requirements.
  • Proof of Nonprofit Status (if applicable): Non-profit organizations participating as sponsors may be required to provide documentation proving their nonprofit status. This could include IRS determination letters or other relevant documentation.
  • Public Announcements and Outreach Materials: Sponsors may be asked to submit public announcements and outreach materials to promote the SFSP within the community. This helps ensure that families are aware of the program and the locations of meal sites.
  • Recordkeeping and Documentation Procedures: Sponsors may need to outline their recordkeeping and documentation procedures. This includes how they will track attendance, document meals served, and maintain other program-related records as required by the Colorado Department of Education.
  • Monitoring and Compliance Plan: Sponsors may be required to submit a plan outlining how they will monitor program operations and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. This plan may detail procedures for site visits, reviews, and corrective actions if necessary.
  • Communication and Reporting: Sponsors may need to establish communication and reporting procedures with the Colorado Department of Education. This could include regular reporting of meal counts, attendance, and any changes in program operations.

It’s essential for potential sponsors to check with the Colorado Department of Education or the relevant state agency overseeing the SFSP for the most up-to-date and specific documentation requirements. Each state may have its own guidelines and procedures for program participation.

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Required Eligibility for Colorado Summer Food Service Program

Eligibility requirements for the Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are generally based on the characteristics of the areas where the program is implemented and the population it aims to serve. The SFSP is designed to reach children in low-income areas, ensuring that those who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year continue to have access to nutritious meals during the summer months. Here are some key eligibility criteria and considerations:

  • Area Eligibility: SFSP sites are typically located in areas where at least 50% of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Eligibility may be determined using census data, school data, or other reliable sources.
  • School District Participation: Schools or school districts with a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals are often eligible to participate in the SFSP. The program aims to target areas where there is a significant need for nutritional support during the summer.
  • Nonprofit Organizations and Government Entities: Nonprofit organizations and government entities may also be eligible to participate in the SFSP. These organizations often operate meal sites and collaborate with local communities to provide meals to eligible children.
  • Children’s Age: The SFSP is primarily for children and teens up to 18 years old. Some sites may also serve meals to people with disabilities over 18 who participate in school programs for individuals who are mentally or physically disabled.
  • Program Capacity: Organizations participating in the SFSP should have the capacity to operate the program effectively. This includes the ability to provide meals that meet USDA nutritional guidelines, manage meal service sites, and comply with program regulations.

It’s important to note that the eligibility criteria and application process may be subject to change, and organizations interested in participating in the Colorado SFSP should contact the Colorado Department of Education or the agency responsible for administering the program for the most up-to-date information. These agencies can provide guidance on the application process, documentation requirements, and any specific criteria that need to be met for eligibility in the program.

Colorado Food Assistance Program

How do I apply for Summer Food Service Program for Colorado?

To find a free, nutritious summer meal site use the Summer Food Site locator to find a site near you.

How To Apply For Summer Food Service Program for Colorado?

To apply for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Colorado, you can follow these general steps. However, please note that the specific application process may vary, and it’s essential to contact the Colorado Department of Education or the relevant state agency for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here is a general guide:

  • Contact the Colorado Department of Education (CDE): Reach out to the Colorado Department of Education, which is typically the state agency responsible for administering the SFSP. You can find contact information on the official CDE website.
  • Attend Information Sessions or Workshops: Some state agencies offer information sessions or workshops to provide guidance on the SFSP application process. Attendees can learn about program requirements, documentation, and how to complete the application.
  • Review Eligibility Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria for the SFSP in Colorado. Ensure that your organization, whether it’s a school, nonprofit, or government entity, meets the necessary qualifications to participate.
  • Complete the Application: Obtain the SFSP application form from the Colorado Department of Education or the relevant state agency. Complete the application accurately, providing all required information about your organization, proposed meal service sites, and other details.
  • Submit Supporting Documentation: Include any necessary supporting documentation with your application. This may include proof of eligibility for proposed meal service sites, meal plans that adhere to USDA nutritional guidelines, financial documentation, and other relevant records.
  • Attend Required Training: Participate in any required training sessions. SFSP often requires staff to undergo training on topics such as food safety, program administration, and record-keeping.
  • Application Review: The state agency will review your application to ensure compliance with SFSP regulations. This may involve a site visit and further communication to clarify information or address any issues.
  • Receive Approval: Once your application is approved, you will receive notification from the state agency. This will include information about your approved meal service sites, the number of meals you are authorized to serve, and any other relevant details.
  • Operate the SFSP: After approval, you can begin operating the SFSP at the approved meal service sites, providing nutritious meals to eligible children during the summer months.

Remember that the information provided here is a general guide, and the process may vary. For the most accurate and specific guidance, contact the Colorado Department of Education or the relevant state agency responsible for administering the SFSP. They can provide the necessary forms, guidance, and support throughout the application process. Colorado Medicaid Program Benefits

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Colorado Summer Food Service Program Phone Number

For more information, visit the Colorado Summer Food Service Program website. summermealprogram@cde.state.co.us

FAQs. Colorado Summer Food Service Program

1. What is the Colorado Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)?

The Colorado SFSP is a federally funded program that provides free, nutritious meals to children aged 18 and younger during the summer months when school is not in session.

2. Who is eligible to receive meals through the SFSP?

Children aged 18 and younger are eligible to receive meals through the SFSP. The program primarily targets areas with a high concentration of low-income families.

3. How do I find SFSP meal sites in my community?

Information about SFSP meal sites is often available through local schools, community centers, and government agencies. The Colorado Department of Education typically provides resources and tools to locate nearby meal sites.

4. Is there a cost for children to receive meals through the SFSP?

No, meals provided through the SFSP are free of charge for eligible children. The program aims to eliminate financial barriers to ensure all eligible children have access to nutritious meals.

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5. What types of meals are offered through the SFSP?

SFSP meal offerings include breakfasts, lunches, snacks, or a combination of these, depending on the site. Meals are designed to meet federal nutrition guidelines to support the health and well-being of participating children.

6. Are there income requirements for participation in the SFSP?

No, the SFSP does not have income requirements for individual children. The program is open to all eligible children aged 18 and younger, regardless of their economic status.

7. How can my organization become a sponsor for the SFSP?

Organizations interested in becoming sponsors for the SFSP can typically apply through the Colorado Department of Education or the relevant state agency. The application process may involve submitting required documentation and meeting specific criteria.

8. What documentation is required for organizations to participate as sponsors?

Documentation requirements may include an application form, information about proposed meal sites, a meal plan, budget details, training documentation, and proof of nonprofit status (if applicable). The specific requirements can vary.

9. Are there educational activities provided along with meals through the SFSP?

Some SFSP sites may offer educational and recreational activities alongside meal services. These activities aim to create a positive and engaging environment for participating children during the summer break.

10. How can I get involved or volunteer with the SFSP?

Individuals interested in volunteering or getting involved with the SFSP can contact local participating organizations, schools, or community centers. Volunteers may assist with meal service, educational activities, or outreach efforts.

11. Can families access multiple SFSP meal sites during the summer?

Yes, families can access multiple SFSP meal sites, and children can receive meals at different locations. This flexibility is designed to accommodate the needs of families and ensure access to nutritious meals.

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