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become a sponsor/application process

Sponsors receive payments from USDA, through the PA Department of Education (PDE), based on the number of meals they serve. All meals are served free to eligible children.
Sponsors are organizations that manage the SFSP feeding sites. Sponsors must: 
  • Attend a state training or complete E-learning online
  • Locate and recruit eligible site(s)
  • Hire, train and supervise staff and volunteers
  • Arrange for meals to be prepared or delivered
  • Monitor their site(s)
  • Prepare claims for reimbursement
  • Ensure that their SFSP is sustainable through community partnerships, fundraising and volunteer recruitment.
The following types of organizations may be sponsors: 
  • Public or private nonprofit schools
  • Units of local, municipal, county, tribal or State government
  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • Public or private nonprofit camps
  • Public or nonprofit universities or colleges

How to Become a Sponsor – The Application Process

The steps to become a sponsor include:

  1. Obtain a Vendor Number. This number will need to be entered on the Policy Statement.
  2. The Agreement Number will be assigned by the State Agency after the forms are submitted.
  3. All forms must be completed, signed, dated and sent to: The Department of Education, 4th Floor, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-3333.
  4. In addition to the forms, a copy of the 501 (c) (3) Tax Exemption Letter from the Federal IRS is required.
  5. After the paperwork is reviewed and processed, the State will make an appointment with the sponsor for training. All new sponsor trainings are in the sponsor's region. Subsequent annual training is completed online through the E-learning system.
  6. Sponsors will receive an email containing a password and login for access into the Pennsylvania Application and Reimbursement System (PEARS).
  7. Complete application, budget and site information on PEARS. This may be done after your initial training.
  8. Claims for reimbursements are managed through PEARS.

New sponsor preliminary paperwork includes:


Schools that participate in a Child Nutrition Program only need to submit the following documents to become a Summer Food Service Program sponsor:
Schools and other organizations that participate in a CN program must only complete lesson 4 of the online education module to complete the training requirements.