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Applications open for Summer Food Service program

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is announcing its participation in the 2024 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). 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 outside of school.

Each year TDHS partners with sponsors across the state to provide these meals. The program traditionally runs from the end of May to August when the next school semester begins. This year sponsors will be able to have the flexibility to provide “grab and go” meals to children in some rural areas.

Organizations, governmental institutions, schools, and religious entities interested in learning more about becoming SFSP sponsors are encouraged to register online for this year’s Summer Summit to be held Jan. 31, 2024.

“The Summer Food Service Program has been a significant resource for partners to provide meals to children across the state when school is out,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter.  “The TDHS Team is ready to expand reach of the program this year and welcomes community organizations to partner with us.”

Historically, the SFSP has operated in most areas of the state, however the need is especially important in rural counties and those designated as distressed. TDHS is hoping to recruit sponsors willing to serve those counties and additional sponsors for every county in the state to help their communities during this time.

Applications for organizations to participate in SFSP will be accepted until May 1, 2024. If your organization is interested in becoming a SFSP sponsor or becoming a feeding site under an existing sponsor, please contact the Tennessee Department of Human Services by e-mail at For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, please visit the TDHS website.

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.

Parents interested in finding a Summer Food Service Program feeding location near them are encouraged contact the TDHS Summer Food Service Program main line at 615-313-4749 or contact their local school as the end of the school year approaches.