Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Funds Available to States to Improve Participation in Summer Food Service Programs

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Contact: USDA Office of Communications, HHS/ACF Press Office
(202) 720-4623, (202) 401-9215


In an effort to address childhood hunger and its impact on child development, health and learning, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), are notifying states that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) can be used to assist families through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Through this unprecedented collaboration, ACF and FNS are joining forces to help communities provide children with adequate, nutritious meals during the summer. The notice sent to States includes an explanation of how resources under the TANF Emergency Fund provided by the Recovery Act can be used to cover portions of costs associated with running a summer food service site that are not otherwise reimbursed. States can seek 80 percent reimbursement through the Fund for a range of expenditures including the cost of compensation for staff support to provide supervision and programming at summer feeding sites, transportation services to transport food and/or children to feeding sites, recreational activities to attract more youth to program locations and meal preparation costs that are not otherwise reimbursed under the SFSP.

“During these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to work together across federal, state, and local offices to support children in need.  We look forward to these Recovery Act dollars supporting children this summer since the lack of nutrition for children during summer recess can lead to long term concerns such as illness and other health issues throughout the school year,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, Carmen R. Nazario. “HHS and USDA are working diligently to help ensure that TANF funds are available to states to expand participation in the SFSP and ensure that children return to school healthy and ready to learn.”

“One of our priorities for reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs is strengthening the SFSP so that children aren’t left out just because school is out. Increasing access to more nutrient-rich foods for our Nation’s disadvantaged children is no simple task,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon.  “It requires government agencies, the private sector, non-profits and local communities to collaborate to ensure children get the proper nutrition that will help end childhood hunger.”

The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure that children in lower-income areas can continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.  SFSP encourages communities to provide complete, wholesome meals for children that are served in safe, supervised locations where children can enjoy activities and playing with other children.

• Joint guidance on the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/policy/colleague-ltr/2010_TANF-SFSP_....
• HHS implementation of Recovery Act programs, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/

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