If your district is participating in a local Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), you know how important it is to provide nutritious meals even after the last day of school.
There are many ways to increase participation in the program, including some out-of-the-box methods you may have never considered. These creative tips can help you brainstorm how to best promote your SFSP this summer.
Host Fun Events
Kick-off your program with a fun event to engage sponsors, partners, families, and the community. You could host a health fair, a group exercise class, contests, music, and more!
Keep the events going throughout the year to re-engage the community as site attendance tends to drop off in early July. Take a look at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service resources for information on how to bring your events to life!
Know Your Audience
Cater to the unique tastes of younger children, teens, and everyone in between. If your program allows, it may be beneficial to consider serving different age groups at different times in different ways.
Targeting teens can be a challenge, so try taking your promotions to social media, plan events targeted towards teens, and provide volunteer or job opportunities to really get older students involved.
Go Farm Fresh With Locally Sourced Fruits and Vegetables
Did you know SFSP aligns with many peak growing seasons? You can help support local growers while providing the very best for the children you serve! The USDA provides resources for incorporating local food into your SFSP menu.
Take Your SFSP Mobile
Expand your audience by hitting the road with your program. Consider a bus or food truck to bring summer feeding to the customer. With the growing popularity of web-based, mobile ordering systems, many programs have been able to hop on the food truck trend. New Haven, Connecticut served more than 700 meals in their first week with their food truck on the road!
Partner With Summer Camps
Local summer camps are often responsible for providing lunch for large crowds of children. By partnering with summer camps, they can offer nutritious meals for lunch at no cost, while you bring in a bus full of hungry kids to your SFSP!
Serve Meals to Adults, Too
Often, parents, guardians, and other adults accompany children to the feeding sites. Offset some of your expenses by providing meals that also appeal to adults.
Additionally, serving adults can help boost family and community engagement, provide children with healthy role models, and expand your site’s impact on hunger and nutrition. Find out more here about the USDA’s regulations on feeding adults.
Check out the USDA-FNS’s Summer Meals Toolkit for more creative ideas and resources for bringing these strategies to life!