Seamless Summer 101

In the February 2013 issue of School Nutrition, author Cecily Walters examined summer feeding programs that provide breakfast, lunch and snack—or a combination thereof—to kids during the long break from school. The article included mention of the two approaches offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service that school nutrition programs can take when providing summer meals: the traditional Summer Food Service Program or the Seamless Summer Option. This online-exclusive content offers an overview of the Seamless Summer Option.

The Seamless Summer Option allows school nutrition operations to sponsor summer foodservice programs but apply the same meal service rules and claiming procedures used to offer the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) during the regular school year. It provides a streamlined approach for providing accountability as an alternative to the rules of the traditional Summer Food Service Program, which remains an available administrative option.

To participate using the Seamless Summer Option, a school nutrition program participating in the NSLP or SBP must be approved to offer summer meals through its governing state agency. The following types of sites are allowed to participate:

Open: All children eat free in communities where at least 50% of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

Restricted open: These are sites that meet the open site criteria but are restricted for safety, control or security reasons.

Closed enrolled: These sites can provide meals to an enrolled group of low-income children; the 50% criteria detailed under the Open description must be met; it excludes academic school programs.

Migrant: These sites serve children of migrant families.

Camps: Residential or non-residential camp may be sponsors.

Meals served are reimbursed at the NSLP and/or SBP “free” rates. For additional information about the Seamless Summer Option, visit

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