HELENA – The Montana Office of Public Instruction is accepting applications for the 2012 Summer Food Service Program from public or private nonprofit school food authorities.

The program provides meals to children who might otherwise go hungry, often in conjunction with educational or recreational activities.

For a significant number of Montana families, summer is an especially difficult time of year, said Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

One in 10 people in Montana live in households where there is not always enough food. With more than 85,000 children living in such households, hunger is a real issue for Montana families.

In these situations, Summer Food Service Programs can fill a critical nutrition gap.

In Montana, only 16 of 100 kids who receive free or reduced price school meals also eat free SFSP meals during the summer.

Sponsors must verify that the site where they plan to serve meals is located in an area where at least half the resident children are from households with incomes at or below the eligibility level for free or reduced price school meals.

The deadline for new sponsors to apply for the SFSP is May 18, 2012. More information available at (406) 444-2521 or http://www.opi.mt.gov/Programs/SchoolPrograms/School_Nutrition/index.html.