USDA’s Summer Food Service Program served 2.7 million children in 2018

This chart shows how Summer Food Service Program distribution sites and average daily attendance in July, fiscal 2000 to 2008.

In 2018, USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provided meals to approximately 2.7 million children on an average operating day in July, the peak month for program operations. Meals were served at 49,795 USDA-approved sites. These sites are eligible to offer free USDA-funded meals and snacks if the sites operate in areas where at least half of the children come from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty level, or if more than half of the children served by the site meet this income criterion. Schools, libraries, camps, parks, playgrounds, housing projects, community centers, churches, and other public locations where children gather in the summer all qualify as USDA-approved sites. Enrichment activities are often offered along with the meals and snacks. Many low-income children also obtain free meals while school is out through the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. This chart is from the Child Nutrition Programs: Charts topic page on the ERS website, updated in June 2019.

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