SFSP Applicant Information
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a USDA Child Nutrition Program that feeds nutritious meals to children in low-income areas when schools are closed for vacation. The program operates through sponsors that utilize sites approved by Bright from the Start to feed children free of charge. SFSP sponsors can be public or private non-profit schools; universities, colleges, or camps; units of local government; and private non-profit organizations considered tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service [501(c)3].
SFSP sites may be located in schools, community centers, parks, churches, playgrounds, migrant centers, homeless feeding sites, summer camps or operating mobile feeding. The children served by the SFSP must be 18 years of age or younger or persons 19 or older with a physical or mental disability, as defined by the State.
If you are interested in applying to the Program as a New Sponsor, please contact our office at 404-657-1779 for more information. All Private-Non-Profit organizations must complete and submit the Potential Sponsor Viability Checklist- Attachment B.
SFSP Participant Information
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federal program that provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks served to children from low-income areas during periods when schools are closed for vacation.
Once an organization’s application has been approved and a successful pre-operational visit has been conducted, the organization will be considered an approved sponsor in the SFSP. Every organization must continue to comply with program regulations/guidance and maintain adequate records to support each monthly claim for reimbursement submitted and SFSP costs charged to the program.
Specifically, organizations must serve meals and snacks that meet the SFSP meal pattern and maintain daily, weekly and monthly records including, but not limited to, menus, number of participants in attendance, and number of meals served at each point of service. Organizations must also manage a fiscally sound and accountable program in which only reasonable and allowable costs are charged to the SFSP and must maintain SFSP related invoices and receipts. Moreover, sponsors must distribute and/or collect forms including, but not limited to, income eligibility applications as required by the SFSP.
SFSP Site Supervisor Training
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is providing the “The Role of Site Supervisor in the Summer Food Service Program” video as a tool to assist organizations in training site supervisors. The video depicts the role of a site supervisor on a typical day at a SFSP site.
As stated in the Administrative Guidance for Sponsors, revised January 2016, training is one of the sponsor’s major administrative responsibilities. A smoothly operating program will require that training be provided by sponsors throughout the duration of the program. A comprehensive training effort, including weekly or biweekly meetings on program requirements, will help to ensure that the monitor, site supervisor, and administrative personnel are performing according to program regulations. Sponsors should attend State agency training and then train both their administrative and site personnel before these staff members undertake their responsibilities. SFSP regulations require that no food service site may operate until personnel at the site have attended at least one of the sponsor’s training sessions.
Bright from the Start Responsibilities
What are Bright from the Start’s responsibilities for the SFSP?
Responsibility for the SFSP in Georgia was transferred from the USDA Regional Office to OSR (now Bright from the Start) in October 1997. Bright from the Start is responsible for the following components of the SFSP:
Program outreach - Bright from the Start is responsible for promoting the SFSP in Georgia. The department targets areas and sponsors that can help increase the number of meals and children served through the program. Outreach requires working with individual organizations, communities, and umbrella organizations to encourage participation in the SFSP including governmental entities and school food authorities.
Annual training of current and new sponsors - Bright from the Start is responsible for providing training for all SFSP applicants on an annual basis. The purpose of the training is to explain program rules and regulations; encourage sponsors to operate successful programs; identify areas where sponsors can improve program operations, participation, and meal service; and update sponsors on any changes in program requirements for the upcoming year.
Approving applications - Bright from the Start receives and processes applications of all organizations wishing to sponsor the SFSP. The department uses GA ATLAS database system to make this process efficient and to allow for collecting and reporting program data. Organizations that complete training are provided access to enter their SFSP application and submit supporting documentation online. All complete and accurate applications, which include the online and documentation portions, will be approved or denied within 30 days of the completion date. The approval process includes determining eligibility for the sponsor and its intended sites. Site eligibility is determined by the percentage of free or reduced price meal recipients in the site's elementary school zone or the number of children enrolled in the program eligible for free or reduced price meals. The number of sites an organization is approved for depends on the assessed administrative and financial capability of the sponsor. Once sites have been determined eligible, Bright from the Start will review, modify and approve the organization's submitted budget. This approval process may require an onsite visit to determine the sponsor's ability to successfully operate the program. Upon completing the approval process, an approval letter is sent to the sponsor detailing the approved sites and budget.
Paying claims - Bright from the Start processes claims for reimbursement in much the same way it approves applications. Approved sponsors are required to submit monthly claims via the online GA ATLAS system. The department also issues advance payments when needed. These advances are awarded to eligible organizations for the months of June, July, and August and are subsequently deducted from the next claim payment. Financial transactions are done through direct deposit.
Federal reporting of information related to the SFSP - Bright from the Start is required to report information to the USDA regarding SFSP operations. The office completes monthly, quarterly, and annual reports for USDA detailing funds spent, meals served, and other financial information. Bright from the Start also periodically provides information related to the number of sponsors, sites, and non-profit organizations enrolled in the program and the number of reviews conducted. Bright from the Start submits a Management Administration Plan (MAP) which outlines the department's plan for program administration and the required budget amount. Funds for program administration and claim payments are received through a drawdown of federal funds.
Reviews - Bright from the Start, Audits and Compliance is responsible for reviewing sponsors and sites to ensure compliance with program rules and regulations. Program regulations specify the number of reviews to be conducted. Each year, Bright from the Start reviews all organizations new for the current year; all problematic sponsors that had significant findings from the previous year; sponsors that have not been reviewed in the past two years; and any other sponsors to meet the USDA requirement. Field visits to the sponsor's administrative office and to 10% of their sites must be conducted during the program operating dates. Reviewers utilize the GA ATLAS system, designed to assist in collecting and compiling review data and findings, to conduct the monitoring review. An exit conference is conducted with each organization to discuss the documented findings and any reclaims or disallowances resulting from the findings. Reports, including corrective action plans, are analyzed by Audits and Compliance staff and subsequently sent to the sponsor for implementation. Sponsors are required to take the required and necessary corrective actions to correct any findings, and this corrective action plan must be submitted to Bright from the Start for review and approval.
As the administering agency for the SFSP, Bright from the Start also assumes responsibility for developing policies and procedures relating to the program. USDA regulations provide the guidelines by which Bright from the Start must administer the program and grants authority for Bright from the Start to implement policies necessary to clarify program rules or improve program operations. The state policies may not conflict with USDA rules and regulations. Sponsors may appeal adverse actions taken by the state or policies that, in their opinion, do not agree with USDA program requirements.