Summer Food Program
In 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act (NSLA), Public Law 396. According to the School Nutrition Association: The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected from World War II military service because of diet-related health problems. The federally assisted meal program was established as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and encourage domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities.
President Truman explained in his statement upon signing the NSLA, that “in the long view, no nation is any healthier than its children or more prosperous than its farmers; and in the National School Lunch Act, the Congress has contributed immeasurably both to the welfare of our farmers and the health of our children.”
The Special Food Service Program for Children was created as an amendment to the NSLA in 1968. According to the USDA, “the 3 year pilot provided grants to States to help provide meals for children when school was not in session.” Under the umbrella of the Special Food Service Program were two categories: Summer and Child Care. In 1975, the original National School Lunch Act was further amended to establish the two categories as their own separate programs.
Today the SFSP “is the largest Federal resource available for local sponsors who want to combine a child nutrition program with a summer activity program.” Groups allowed to participate in SFSP include: Public and private non-profit groups, government entities, private non-profit organizations, public and private non-profit camps and public and private non-profit universities and colleges