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Gearing Up for a Great Summer Food Service Program

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals to children 18 and under during the summer months. When school is not in session, some families find it difficult to provide nutritious meals to their children. The SFSP plays a critical role in filling this gap.

In 2018, Wisconsin SFSP sponsors served 2.9 million meals; however, there is room for growth. One way to grow the program is to increase outreach initiatives and program awareness around the state.

To promote a SFSP site, sponsors can register the site with their local 211 Call Center, Wisconsin’s free, informational hotline. Families can then find the nearest free summer feeding site and meal service times by dialing the 2-1-1 number.

Another way to promote SFSP sites is to register the site(s) with the National Hunger Hotline. This tool allows families to search for summer meal sites by simply typing in their address and the nearest locations appear, no matter where they are in the country!

Enhancing a program’s social media presence and using hashtags can increase awareness as well. The SFSP has multiple hashtags including #FarmtoSummer, #SFSP, and #SummerMealsRock. Hashtags are useful when attached to pictures, for example, by increasing the audience the photo may reach. Even if a person does not like a page or follow the SFSP sponsor, the hashtag can be searched, or may pop-up on a social media feed, bringing the photo to that person’s attention.

Incorporating local foods into your local SFSP is a great way to improve meal quality and support the local community. Farm to Summer Week is a great time to highlight local food efforts! This year, Farm to Summer Week is June 17-21. Visit the DPI Farm to Summer web page for more information about finding and purchasing local foods.

If you have any questions regarding the SFSP or outreach initiatives contact Amy Kolano, (608) 266-7124.

Subscriber Submission: Nicole Kolano and Brittany Zerbe, RDN, CD