Summer Meals Resource Toolkit
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, 18 years and younger, 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.
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, visit OSPI Summer Food Service Program website, or contact OSPI Summer Food Service Program staff Jennifer Mitchell, (360) 725-6056.
To learn more about promoting a Summer Meals program in your community, contact Tracy Anderson at WithinReach 206-830-5178.
The 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 resources and offer ideas about how to make your program great:
- USDA Guide to Starting a Program
- Washington Summer Meals Guide
- Summer Meals 101 for Community-based Organizations
- Summer Meals Brief – How Washington’s Program Compares to Other States
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 is easier if you know who to talk to, learn what happened in previous summers and where the service gaps are and find eligible site locations 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 and faith-based organizations and camps. Sites may be open all or part of the summer; every day or a few days per week, depending on your community’s programs.
Summer Meals Locations Search Tool
Use the Summer Meals search tool and find information about site locations, sponsors, days of operation and more. Meal site locations for Summer 2015 will be listed beginning in June. 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 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. Use the tools below to help you explore eligible summer meal sites. Site eligibility must be confirmed with Jennifer Mitchell at OSPI.
FRAC Summer Food Mapper (You must use Internet Explorer)
Search by address to see if the location is within the census requirement.
1. Click on FIND.
2. Enter the full street address with zip code, and click FIND.
3. Scroll down for results below the map. If it indicates YES, then the site qualifies.
Summer Meals Outreach: Advertise Effectively!
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 make parents and kids feel good about coming to your Summer Meals Program all summer long:
- NEW! WithinReach Summer Meals Promotion Toolkit
- Washington Summer Meals Guide
- Sodexo Foundation Summer Meals Outreach Toolkit
- 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
- Help Migrant Families Access Summer Meals Brochure (English, customizable)
- Help Migrant Families Access Summer Meals Brochure (Spanish, customizable)
- Washington Dairy Council (free handouts and activities)