Public schools are a natural fit as sponsors for SFSP. They already have the facilities and trained staff to prepare many meals a day. SFSP reimbursement funds can be used to provide a source of income for administrative costs. That means cafeteria workers who stay to help with SFSP during the summer can be reimbursed for their labor.
Public schools often offer summer programming activities like band camps, sports camps, and summer school. This makes estimating the number of meals easier and more accurate, which in turn saves money and prevents food waste. Those sorts of activities are often physically or mentally demanding and a nutritious meal is beneficial for all students participating. For schools that don’t have summer programming, there are still facilities available that incentivize summer feeding such as open gym or open track or field.
Aside from incentivizing staff and students, administration are incentivized by the educational benefits of Summer Feeding. Students who experience hunger or food insecurity during the summers feel the effects of ‘summer slide’ more strongly than those who do not. A No Kid Hungry 2015 study called “Summer Hunger is Too Expensive to Ignore” found that “Stopping the “summer slide” among kids could save up to $50.6 billion in reteaching costs, equal to approximately 10% of the current total U.S. spending on K-12 education.” and that “summer nutrition plays a role in academic achievement.” According to the study, “nutritious meals protect against cognitive decline, which can help mitigate summer learning loss.”