The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is more than a free meal – it is an opportunity for kids of all ages to come together, participate in fun activities, play with friends and share a meal together when school is out. These programs help solve the problem of childhood hunger without drawing attention to need or stigmatizing kids for their hardship. Instead, they provide an inclusive space that gives smiles, giggles and full bellies to all children across Kentucky. There are many ways you can help make this the best summer ever for Kentucky kids.
What You Can Do
- Promote the program through your organization. Many organizations already have a relationship with families and can connect them with resources available in communities. As a teacher, child care professional, cooperative extension agent, local health department worker or family resource and youth service center coordinator, you can encourage participation in SFSP sites through your own programming. Check out these KY Kids Eat outreach materials for customizable flyers, posters, bookmarks, media releases, newsletters, op-eds and PSAs. Regardless of how you communicate, emphasize that this opportunity is available to all children 0-18 years old—regardless of income, race, religion or nationality.
- Be a sponsor. If your organization already provides services to the community, has dedicated staff and capacity to run a food service, you can sponsor the SFSP. Schools, food banks, YMCAs, camps, faith-based and other non-profit community organizations make great sponsors. To become a sponsor for next summer, contact the SFSP office before April. If you are already a sponsor, join the +25 campaign to maximize our impact by making small changes that lead to serving 25 more meals each day.
- Be a site. Sites are safe, inviting places in the community where children participate in activities and receive meals under supervision. Sites and sponsors work together to create an inclusive environment in a variety of settings, including schools, parks, community centers, churches, farmers markets, police stations, libraries and housing projects. Zoom in to find SFSP site locations available in your community. Additional sites can get started at any point during the summer, so if you see a need, join us by contacting your local sponsor or the SFSP office.
- Volunteer to help with programming. Any individual or organization can assist with activities, events and outreach. Volunteers can help transport food, set up/clean up the space, plan and lead recreational activities, print flyers, find free incentives through community donations, or organize fundraisers at local churches, meetings and charity groups. These volunteers help transform a free meal into a fun, summertime experience for all families! For creative ways to get involved, check out these programming ideas and contact any SFSP site location to volunteer.
- Participate in the program. The best way to support SFSP in our communities is to participate routinely. Summer meals are about bringing friends together over a shared meal and showing our children that it’s important for all of us to eat healthy meals even when school is not in session. To find meal sites in your community text ‘FOOD’ to 877877, call 1-866-3HUNGRY or visit the USDA site location map. Explain to your summer caregiver that SFSP is your preferred option for feeding your kids; organize a group of neighborhood friends to walk up to the site together; or simply share the information with your neighbors, parent-teacher associations and family friends. Connect with KY Kids Eat on Facebook and Twitter to promote the most popular hangout for kids this summer—your local summer meals site!