Child Nutrition and Food Distribution FAQ


Q: Do we have to participate in providing meals?         

A: No. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  does not require this. However, the Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction have referred to the importance of continuing to serve school meals. Some schools are not eligible to participate in the Summer Food Service Program and may not be reimbursed for the meals they serve. 

Q: What are our district’s options for providing meals to students?

A: The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is the primary meal program available to the schools?

  1. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) 
    • Open Sites – must be in eligible SFSP area (attendance area of school where at least 50% of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals or an area eligible by census data.  Meals may be provided to all children.  All meals claimed at SFSP rate
    • Closed Enrolled Sites - Non-eligible area.  Meals outreach targeted to free/reduced price eligible children.  If a paid child learns about the program and want to attend, they must not be denied the opportunity to enroll in order to participate. All meals claimed at SFSP rate.
  2. NSLP – when distance learning is provided
    • Meals distributed to students that request. Claim meals in appropriate eligibility category. NSLP meal pattern is used.

Q: What is the SFSP?

A: The SFSP provides meals to children in low-income areas during the summer when school meals are not available. NDDPI has received a waiver from USDA to allow schools to offer the SFSP during unanticipated school closures, such as now. 

Q: Summer Food sites can operate as open programs, which means they can serve any children that show up for a meal. This includes children from other, non-eligible schools (or communities) and any children not enrolled in school (age 1 and older). 

A:The SFSP serves children up to age 18 or older if receiving special education services. Meals are served free of charge and the meal requirements are much simpler that school lunch or breakfast.  Eligible sites may claim 2 meals/day.

Q: How do I sign up for the SFSP?

A: For more information, please contact Melissa Anderson or Scott Egge in the Office of Child Nutrition and Food Distribution at 1-888-338-3663 or 701-328-2294. Districts will need to click on the documents under the SFSP Emergency Sign-up Packet.

Q: What is the Federal Reimbursement for SFSP Meals?


Self Prep

Urban Vended










Revenue and expenses should be run through the district’s school food service account.

Q What food can I serve?

A: The SFSP meal requirements are listed below. All required components must be served as a unitized meal.



1 cup

Fruit, Vegetable or 100% Fruit Juice

½ cup

Grain (whole grain not required)

1 serving = 1 slice bread, ¾ cup cereal, 1 muffin, cereal bar, etc.



1 cup

Fruit or Vegetable

2 items to equal ¾ cup total

Grain (whole grain not required)

1 serving

Meat/Meat Alternate

2 ounces

Q: Do I need to track the number of students taking a meal?

A: Do not use your electronic system. Be sure to count all meals distributed by using the meal count sheet. A head count (tally) is all that is needed for SFSP meals. Count breakfast and lunch separately.Reimbursement is only paid for meals distributed to children. The district may choose to either charge adults for meals (we recommend $2 for breakfast and $4 for lunch) or cover the cost of the adult meals through the general fund. 

Q: Can I use my USDA foods (commodities)?

A: Yes, use your USDA foods

Q: Can I give out two meals at one time?  Both breakfast and lunch?

A: Yes, you can give out both breakfast and lunch at one time. You can also distribute meals for multiple days (up to 5 days) as long as they are counted for correctly. Use a separate tally sheet for each meal, each day.

Q:Do I need to maintain a production record tracking the food that is served?

A: Yes, you will need to maintain a production record listing the foods served and serving sizes just like the NSLP/SBP food program by maintaining a Summer Food Program Production Record.

Q: Can a parent pick up the meals for their children?

A: Yes, a parent or guardian may pick up meals for their children as long as the district ensures that meals are only distributed to children and that duplicate meals are not distributed to any child.

Q: Who do I contact at NDDPI Child Nutrition with questions?

A:  Contact the Child Nutrition office at 1-888-338-3663 or 701-328-2294.

A: Districts may work with DPI to enroll in the Emergency Meals to You program.This program mails shelf-stable meals to students from districts that meet Summer Food Service Program eligibility criteria.

Q: Are there any specific requirements for home delivered meals?

A: Yes, households must provide written consent to the district to have meals delivered at their home.  Children do not have to be present when meals are delivered.  A maximum of 2 meals per child per day may be delivered.  Meals for multiple days may be delivered at one time up one week’s worth of meals (equal to 5 school days). 

Q: Are there meal pattern allowances in case certain food components are not available?

A: Yes, if there are disruptions in the availability of food products as a result of impacts from COVID-19 the school district may request a waiver to serve meals that do not meet meal requirements.  A waiver form is available on the Child Nutrition SFSP web page