The last bell is about to ring and kids are heading out the school doors to celebrate summer vacation. However, many will be returning to schools, camps and other programs where they can still receive a meal. As the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reminds us with their annual publication, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, just because it’s summer vacation shouldn’t let us forget that for many kids, the only nutritious meals they receive are through federal nutrition programs.
The disappointing conclusion of the 2013 FRAC report: the nation’s Summer Nutrition Programs continue to fall short of their goal to curb summer hunger. For every seven low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2011-2012 school year, only one child received summer meals in July 2012. In fact, by 2012, 99,000 fewer children were participating in the Summer Nutrition Programs than in 2008.
Low participation means missed meals for children and missed dollars for states. FRAC reported that if every state in July 2012 had reached the goal of feeding 40 children Summer Nutrition for every 100 receiving free and reduced-price lunches during the 2011-2012 school year, an additional five million children would have been fed each day, and states would have collected an additional $352 million in child nutrition funding in July alone.
So what can you do to boost participation in your summer program? A variety of goals, barriers, and strategies are discussed on FRAC’s webinar Setting the Stage for Success: Establishing Goals for 2014 Summer Nutrition Programs. Strategies for increasing participation, bolstering site and sponsor recruitment, and expanding marketing outreach are among the topics covered. The webinar features presentations by FRAC, USDA, and case studies of the Rhode Island Department of Education and United Way of King County in Settle, Washington.
Keep Summer Simple!
At E S Foods, we are prepared to work with you to develop a summer feeding plan. Follow these tips from our website to serve healthy, nutritious foods.
Convert your Seamless Summer Option (SSO under NSLP) to the Simplified Summer Food Service Program (under SFSP).
- Lower meal costs
- Easier menu compliance, 2 fruits versus a fruit and a vegetable, and no color requirements
- Higher reimbursements, $.0925 for breakfast and $.5525 for lunch, than seamless option
- Offer a breakfast and lunch program instead of a lunch and snack program to generate the highest revenue. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day and offers over twice the reimbursement versus snack!
Our Breakfast Breaks, Meal Breaks, Simple Choice Meals, Thaw & Serve Frozen Entrees, and nutritious snacks can all fit into an easy summer feeding plan. Contact us to help you get started. Don’t wait – summer is here!