In this report, author Jean Bessette examines the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operating in 2017 in four communities in Coös County, New Hampshire. She reports that the SFSP provides benefits to Coös County on multiple levels. For children, it ensures the availability of nutritious meals in the summer when school meal programs are not operating; for parents, it helps to alleviate pressure on food budgets; and for communities, it helps to ameliorate the impacts of poverty and lack of economic growth and development. Successful strategies to increase participation in summer food programs include providing bus services to transport children to sites and leveraging non-federal funding to provide meals for adults, thereby increasing the participation of children and youth. Sponsors in Coös County report that the requirements of summer food programs can be frustrating at times. For example, programs are not allowed to send leftover food home with children, and the paperwork can be burdensome. In some cases, program staff were confused or uncertain about program rules, such as procedures for handling leftover meals and snacks. Bessette concludes that expanding and funding more summer food sites and exploring and implementing other innovative strategies to provide food to children in the summer is vital in order to ensure that children grow and thrive.

Publication Date

Fall 10-30-2018


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2018. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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