A child eats a sandwich at a park

Best Practices & Quick Links for Sponsors

Please use this guide to facilitate your research to implement and maintain a successful SFSP sponsorship. The following information includes quick links to important websites regarding the Summer Food Service Program, webinars and links to best practices, as well as creative use of Second Harvest Heartland’s funding by our previous sponsors.

Quick Links

The following links offer essential information regarding the Summer Food Service Program.

Share Our Strength (No Kid Hungry)

Share Our Strength's (SOS) No Kid Hungry campaign is helping to end childhood hunger by connecting children to national nutrition programs.


The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) administers the SFSP throughout Minnesota. MDE seeks new sponsors for sites in underserved communities without summer meal sites.


SFSP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA reimburses sponsors that are approved and serve meals that meet Federal nutritional guidelines.

Best Practices for a Successful SFSP Sponsorship

Opening New Sites:

  • USDA's Area Eligibility

    Use this map to determine areas of need and identify potential partners.

  • How to Become a Sponsor

    This page includes how the program works and the role of sponsors and feeding sites—as well as the steps to apply to become a sponsor.

  • Summer Meals Best Practices from No Kid Hungry

    This page provides information on building a strong site, grant funding, and using low-cost resources in program implementation and expansion.

  • USDA Outreach Toolkit

    This page provides information on building a strong site, mobile meals, and using low-cost resources in program implementation and expansion.


Enhancing Meal Components:



Creative Use of Funds From Previous Second Harvest Heartland Sponsors

  • Reading books handed out for activities, prizes, or for attendance.

    SOS partners with First Book to make new, low-cost books available to children at summer and afterschool meal programs. Books can be purchased through the First Book Marketplace year-round, but check the Sponsor Center Homepage for information about current promotions.

  • Punch cards for attendance (get 10 punches and receive a prize)
  • Ice cream socials
  • Crafting supplies
  • Food & Fitness (offering Zumba, yoga, or other fitness classes after a meal to keep kids onsite)
  • Partnering with police department for a neighborhood night out
  • Mobile app Nutrislice
  • Postage for flyers
  • Flyers to put in grocery store or dollar store shopping bags
  • Walking map flyers
  • Flyers with pictures of food served or menus
  • Bus transportation from community programs to SFSP site
  • Food truck costs
  • Stipends for student labor (interns, college & high school students)
  • Partner with the local radio station to announce the daily menu
  • Post “Free Meal Coming Soon” weeks before starting the program to build awareness early
  • Similar to an ice cream truck, have the mobile meal bus play music when arriving at a SFSP site