Summer Meals

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) are critical yet underutilized child nutrition programs. Only about 15 percent of kids who eat free or reduced-price school meals also receive meals during the summer. The strategies and tools in this section will help you to effectively address summer hunger in your community.

Collaborate

Working with state agencies, USDA, program sponsors and others to create a comprehensive plan to tackle summer hunger can help to increase participation in the summer meals programs.  The resources in this section will help you engage key stakeholders to create a plan for summer meals in your community. 

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Recruit New Sites

The success of summer meals programs is dependent on a network of strong sponsors and sites.  The tools in this section will walk you through different steps you can take to support new sponsors and sites in your community.

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Retain Sponsors

Seasoned sponsors tend to have the most success running the summer meals programs because they already have experience with the program. The resources in this section will help you to retain good sponsors to strengthen the summer meals programs in your community.

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Raise Awareness

National research shows that only 40 percent of low-income families know about a summer meals programs in their community.  The resources in this section will help you plan your summer outreach strategy and give you the tools to reach families and kids in your community.

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Promote Legislation

State legislation or policy change can increase participation and access to the summer meals program by allocating funding for site expansion and programming, or by requiring high-need schools to offer summer meals.  This section will provide you with ideas for legislation or other policy change in your community.

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Streamline Processes

The USDA has offered guidance to help states simplify some of the processes for sponsors to transition between programs, such as the summer meals programs and the Afterschool Meals Program. Use these resources to identify program barriers and opportunities for improvements in your community.

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