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June 24, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Summer Food Service Program Applications Open

Kids 18 and younger can continue to have the same access to nutritious meals when school is out for the summer.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is announcing its participation in the 2023 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the opening of this year’s application period. The goal of the Summer Food Service Program is to ensure children 18 and younger, who benefit from meal programs at school, continue to have that same access to nutritious meals when school is out for the summer.

Each year TDHS partners with sponsors across the state to provide summer meals. The program traditionally runs from the end of May to August when the next school semester begins.

About the Summer Food Service Program

In 2022, by partnering with 45 program sponsors across about 1,200 meal sites, approximately 1.8 million meals were served through the Summer Food Service Program.

This need is especially important in rural counties in Tennessee and those designated as distressed. TDHS is striving to recruit more sponsors willing to serve rural counties and additional sponsors for every county in the state to help their communities.

“TDHS appreciates the many partners we have each summer who share our commitment to get meals into the hands of children that need them,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter.  “Collectively, we have room to grow, and a greater impact to make. I invite organizations that are interested in joining this important effort to reach out to us to learn more and to apply to serve meals.”

Applications are currently available, and technical support is provided by TDHS staff. Sponsor applications will be accepted until May 1, 2023.  If your organization is interested in becoming a SFSP sponsor or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor, please contact the department by e-mail at

In addition to children of school age, adults 19 and older with a mental or physical disability are eligible to receive free meals if they participate in a school program established for individuals with disabilities during the prior school year.

As summer nears, parents interested in finding a feeding location near them are encouraged to contact the TDHS Summer Food Service Program main line at 615-313-4749, their local school, or visit Additional information also is available on TDHS’s website.


About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.