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PRESS RELEASE

June 3, 2003

Frances Marine
Press Secretary
(850) 245-0413

Florida Department of Education Publicizes Summer Food Service Program Hotline

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Education today announced a new telephone hotline for the Summer Food Service Program. Public service announcements, flyers, bookmarks and posters will publicize the hotline number, 1-800-622-5985. The Florida Department of Education's Division of Food and Nutrition Management will operate the hotline weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm until the new school year starts.

Education Commissioner Jim Horne expressed his commitment to expanding the reach of the federally funded summer food service program. "Healthy eating should go hand in hand with summer fun," Horne said. "Our goal is to ensure that every eligible child has access to a nutritious diet at their summer camp sites."

During the regular school year, over one million Florida children are eligible for free or reduced priced meals through the national school lunch and breakfast programs. The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 or younger in most of Florida's 67 counties. School boards, camps, private non-profit organizations, local government agencies and churches utilize the program to provide meals to eligible children during the summer.

Currently, there are approximately 140 sponsors managing 2,680 sites throughout the state. "Florida is among the top 10 states nationally for successfully reaching children in need," said Horne. "These public service announcements and the new program hotline will provide more families with important information on summer food program eligibility and participating sites."