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June 20, 2018
Tips for promoting Summer Eats in your community

One of the largest barriers that prevents kids from getting Summer Eats, is that they simply don't know about it! Here are some ideas on how to make your program successful—and how the entire community can get involved. 

1. Hold a Blitz Day, a press event, or a summer kickoff 

  • Blitz Days help spread the word about Summer Eats in your community. During Blitz Days, volunteers canvass specific neighborhoods or talk to people in a busy area or town. Download the Summer Meals Blitz 101 Guide to start planning your community Blitz Day. 

  • Distribute and hang Summer Eats promotional materials in community spaces. Hand out flyers to everyone you talk to, leave door hangers at houses, or put up posters in community gathering spaces during the day. You don't have to be a Summer Eats sponsor or site to distribute and display information about the program in your community. 

  • A summer kickoff or press event gets children and families excited for Summer Eats. Hosting activities or games, serving food to families, or including performances can increase the excitement and promote the program in the community. 

  • Inviting elected officials or other special guests to an event helps to increase excitement and generate publicity, as well as gain support for the Summer Eats program. 

2. Get creative with your programming

Offering programming or activities along with a nutritious meal has been an effective way for Summer Eats sites to increase their participation in the program. Providing enriching activities also helps to prevent summer learning loss for the kids and teens in their community. 

  • Invite special guests such as magicians, traveling zoos, local politicians, grandparents, or favorite teachers to generate excitement about your program. 

  • Hand out flyers to everyone you talk to, leave door hangers at houses, or put up posters in community gathering spaces during the day. You don't have to be a Summer Eats sponsor or site to distribute and display information about the program in your community. 

  • Ensure that kids stay for both breakfast and lunch by keeping them occupied with activities that encourage physical fitness, nutrition, and learning.

3. Use resources in your community 

  • Reach out to senior citizen programs, volunteer groups, local colleges, or your city's summer jobs program to connect your sites with staff at no cost. 
  • Obtain prizes or program activity materials through donations from local businesses. 

4. Market your programs in the community 

  • Advertising is crucial for increasing participation at your sites. Begin promoting your program before the school year ends in June and continue throughout August. 
  • Collaborate with local organizations, businesses, churches, and city government to plan a Summer Eats kickoff event, coordinate activities, and/or promote your program. Maximize your advertising dollars by creating joint promotions with these partners. 
  • Contact your local paper, TV station, or radio station for free press coverage of your program.

Want to get involved in Summer Eats

Author(s): Project Bread's Child Nutrition Outreach Program

Filed under: News and Events, Children and Schools