One of every four children in Tennessee face hunger every day.  During the school year that need is met for some children and families through free and reduced meal programs in schools across the state.  However, when children are out of school during breaks, nutritious meals and snacks may not be readily available. 

The Tennessee Summer Food Service Program was created to help fill that hunger gap.  Established by Congress in 1968, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) serves to ensure that during school vacation,  children 18 years or younger of low-income could receive the same high quality meals provided during the school year.  The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the SFSP under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and in coordination with community partners.

These Summer Food Service Programs usually begin in late spring when school dismisses for the summer and remain open until the new school year begins in the fall. 

If you are aware of any patients in your care that may have a lack of food resources or face hunger concerns please help them by sharing the details of the Tennessee Summer Food Service Program.  Sites are open all across the state offering free breakfast and/or lunch. 

Click here to find a summer meal site near you. Individuals can type in their zip code to find locations in their area.  You can also Text "FOOD" to 877-877. 

The Division of TennCare is part of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet which supports a unified approach to impacting childhood poverty in Tennessee.  We encourage you to share this free tool with families that may benefit from resources and information on how they may access free nutritious meals during these summer months.  

Tennessee Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics