Building a Summer Meals program in your community
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded child nutrition program that provides reimbursement to local organizations that provide free, nutritious meals to low-income children and teens when school meal programs are not available. Washington’s SFSP, also known as the Summer Meals Program, can offer up to two meals per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or snacks.
Washington’s statewide Summer Meals Partnership has developed a Toolkit that can help community-based organizations identify needs, partners, outreach strategies and resources in communities to start or strengthen summer meal programs for kids. Using the information here, your organization can start now to plan how community partners can work together to feed hungry children in the summer.
Summer Meals Resource Toolkit for WA Communities
How organizations can support Summer Meals
Nonprofits, schools, public entities (like cities or counties), and tribes can sponsor Summer Meals programs or host a meal site. Organizations don’t have to sponsor a program to help make it successful – working in partnership with your local program and spreading the word about it to your clients, colleagues and neighbors is a great way to ensure a program’s success.
These guides explain how the program works, point you to great local and national resources, and give you ideas about what you can do to help make it great:
Summer Meals Locations
The Summer Meals search tool displays information about site locations, sponsors, days of operation and more for summer 2012.
For questions about summer meals, call the Family Food Hotline 1-888-4-FOOD-WA (1-888-436-6392), 8am–5:30pm, M-F.
Summer Meals Statewide Partnership E-Newsletter
Sign up for the Summer Meals Newsletter on this page. Stay informed about Summer Meals. Read past Summer Meals E-newsletters.
Getting Organized for Summer Meals
It’s never too early to think about how to build a strong Summer Meals program in your community. Here is a great planning timeline with tips on what to do in the fall, winter, and spring to ensure the summertime is a great success. View the Planning Timeline.
Planning for next summer is easier if you know who to talk to, what happened in previous summers, where the service gaps may be, and where eligible sites could be for next year. Program sponsors may have a single site where meals are served, or they may have multiple sites. Summer meal sites are located in schools, parks, recreation centers, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and camps. Sites may be open all or part of the summer and every day or only some days of the week, depending on your community’s programs.
Summer Meals Site Eligibility
Eligible sites are in areas where more than half the kids are enrolled in free or reduced-price meals, or where census data indicates that more than half an area’s residents are low-income. Contact Donna Parsons at OSPI for eligibility information.
FRAC Summer Food Mapper
Use the FRAC Summer Food Mapper to locate potential sites that meet the census data requirement. Sites must be in located in green zones to qualify by census data. You must confirm site eligibility with Donna Parsons at OSPI.
Summer Meals Fact Sheets by County (including 2013 eligible schools)
The fact sheets show 2012 sponsors, meal sites, days of operation, and participation numbers for each county. These fact sheets have been updated with schools eligible to qualify as summer meal sites for 2013.
Start or Expand a Community Summer Meals Program
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) administers the WA Summer Meals Program. To learn more about Summer Meals in your community or to get information about becoming a sponsor or site, contact OSPI’s Summer Food Service Program staff Donna Parsons or call (360) 725-6200.
Eash spring OSPI offers a mandatory Summer Meals Program workshop to train potential sponsors on Summer Meals program requirements. You can attend the training without obligation to sponsor a program. You must complete the Intent to Participate Application and attend the training/workshop to be a sponsor. Program information, the Intent to Participate Application and the 2013 training dates are below:
- Summer Meals Sponsor Requirements and Reimbursement Rates
- Details about the Seamless Summer Feeding Program for Schools
- OSPI Memo - Intent to Participate in 2013 Summer Meals
- 2013 Intent to Participate as Summer Meals Sponsor Application
- 2013 Summer Meals Sponsor Training Dates and Locations
- Make-up Sponsor Training - May 23 in Olympia ( contact Donna Vincent for details (360-725-6202)
Funding Opportunities for Summer Meal Programs
There are resources to help communities fund Summer Meal programs in Washington. Below are grant opportunities available in 2013.
OSPI Meals for Kids Grant (closed for 2013)
Funds are available through OSPI for start-up or expansion of Summer Meal programs. Grants can fund sponsors for equipment, training and outreach in any eligible Washington program.
Feed Your Brain Grants (closed for 2013)
School’s Out Washington offers Feed Your Brain grants for summer literacy and summer meal programs for kids in rural, high poverty communities. The 2013 Feed Your Brain Grant Application is now available. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to selected schools, organizations, and tribes. Learn more.
Food Lifeline Grants
Food Lifeline is looking to expand its Kids Cafe Summer Feeding Program, which is part of the Summer Meals Program. If you are located in Western Washington and would like more information about this opportunity please contact Rebecca Van Maren, Child Hunger Corps Member (206-545-6600 ex 3606). Learn more.
United Way of King County Summer Meal Grants
United Way of King County offers start-up and expansion grants for Summer Meal programs in King County to fund equipment, staffing and outreach. For more information, contact Lauren McGowan.
The Washington Dairy Council offers Summer Meals resources such as milk cooler rebates, hand outs and activities. Contact the Washington Dairy Council.
Summer Meals Outreach Ideas
Ideas for bringing more families and kids to your sites
Summer Meal Programs are successful only if kids show up at meal time. Here are some outreach ideas and materials from national, state and local organizations to advertise your program effectively and that make parents and kids feel good about coming to your Summer Meals Program all summer long:
- Washington Summer Meals Guide
- Sodexo Foundation Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit (new in 2012)
- USDA Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit (English, with customizable templates)
- USDA Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit (Spanish, with customizable templates)
- Food Research Action Center - Standards of Excellence in Summer Food Programs
- 47 Ways to Promote the Summer Meals Program
- 10 Steps to More Kids
- Media & Publicity – Tips and Templates
- 9 Questions to Design Effective Outreach
- Promotional Summer Meals Flyer (English and Spanish)
- Helping Migrant Families Access Summer Meals Brochure (English, customizable)
- Helping Migrant Families Access Summer Meals Brochure (Spanish, customizable)
- Washington Dairy Council (free handouts and activities)
To learn more about promoting a Summer Meals program in your community, contact Claire Lane, Food Security Program Manager at WithinReach 206-830-7642.