The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is requesting assistance from financially viable organizations that can serve meals to children during the summer months. Organizations that participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) will be reimbursed by VDH for the meals that are served.\r\nParticipating sponsors will also be reimbursed for certain allowable administrative costs associated with serving the meals. In addition, all participating organizations receive technical assistance from VDH staff. All participating sponsors are required to attend the SFSP training provided by VDH. Training dates will be publicized on VDH\u2019s SFSP website when finalized.\r\nVirginia\u2019s children need and deserve nutritious meals continuously throughout the year to maintain healthy minds and bodies. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to an individual\u2019s learning process. Lack of access to nutritional meals during the summer sets the stage for a student\u2019s poor performance once the next school year begins.\r\nRemember, childhood hunger doesn\u2019t take a summer vacation. The SFSP fills the nutrition gap when school\u2019s out and children do not have access to the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs.\r\nVirginia\u2019s SFSP operates in schools, public housing centers, community centers, playgrounds, camps, parks and churches. Sponsors that may qualify for this program include: public or private nonprofit schools; local, municipal, county, state or Federal governments; public or private nonprofit residential summer camps; and private nonprofit organizations including faith- or community-based organizations.\r\nThis year SFSP will be transitioning from a paper application to web- or computer-based applications. In preparation for this transition, VDH will be conducting mandatory regional trainings for all returning sponsors as well as prospective sponsors. The new application system, Child\/Adult Application & Meal Payment System or CHAAMPS, will be launched with the 2016-2017 application cycle.\r\nSites and dates for the CHAMPS training are:\r\n\u2022 Western Region: March 7 or 8;\r\n\u2022 Eastern Region: March 14 or 15;\r\n\u2022 Central Region: March 16 or 17;\r\n\u2022 Northern Region: March 22 or 23.\r\nOrganizations interested in obtaining more information about the Summer Food Service Program or in requesting an application to participate should call VDH at 1-804-864-7800 or visit the SFSP website. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also is offering a series of free webinars for organizations and individuals interested in participating in the SFSP.\r\nIf becoming a sponsor is not a good fit, but an organization is interested in feeding children in a specific area during the summer months, please consider partnering with an existing sponsor and participating as a meal site under that sponsor. In that case, please call the toll-free number above and ask for a list of existing sponsors in your area that may be able to add your organization as a meal location.\r\nThe deadline for submitting an application to participate in this year\u2019s Summer Food Service Program is April 15 for sponsors requesting a June advance; May 13 for sponsors requesting a July advance; June 15 for sponsors requesting an August advance; 30 days prior to operation for all sponsors. Applications cannot be accepted after June 15.\r\nFunding for the Summer Food Service Program is provided by the USDA and administered by VDH. The program provides nutritious meals in economically disadvantaged areas to children age 18 and younger and to students over the age of 18 who are mentally or physically disabled that participate in a vocational program. The SFSP is an equal opportunity program serving meals at no charge to all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex or disability.