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.
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 Capacity Builder
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.
- SFSP 101 and How to be a Summer Meals Champion – webinar
Learn the Summer Food Service Program basics, frequently asked questions, and the steps to make your program a success!
- No Kid Hungry Program Excellence
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 toolkit includes fliers, letters to parents, and other materials that help sponsors raise awareness of the program among children and their families.
- MDE: How Organizations Apply for the Summer Food Program (41 minutes)
This session features the basics of the Summer Food Service Program, how to participate, the timeline for the application process and how to complete the application materials. Materials to go along with this training: Application Checklist for New Sponsor-Summer Food Service Program.
Overcoming Transportation-Related Barriers:
- Best Practices for Tackling the Transportation Barriers – webinar
Learn about the many solutions that can help you solve transportation challenges so you can feed and reach even more children!
- SOS Mobile Meals Playbook
SOS’s Mobile Meals Playbook offers best practices for determining if mobile is right for you, making plans for a new mobile program, and/or adopting better practices to improve your existing programs.
Enhancing Meal Components:
- SOS Healthy Meal Samples & Cooking Matters Materials
Find tips on menu planning, strategies for serving appealing meals that meet federal nutrition standards, and information on SOS’s Cooking Matters program that offers hands-on cooking courses.
- Incorporating Local Foods (Farm To Summer) - webinar
Get the scoop on how to engage local producers and incorporate local food into your Summer Meals menu.
- USDA Farm to Summer Fact Sheet
- MDE Food Service Operations
Resources on this page can help sponsors with menu planning, food production, meal pattern compliance and special dietary needs
- USDA's "What to Do with Leftover Meals"
Get tips on how to reduce, re-use, and recycle leftover meals to avoid food waste and keep food costs down
- USDA Communication Strategy and Resources
Find media outreach, including social media resources and sample emails and letters that can be used to spread the word about SFSP
- USDA Raise Awareness (English & Spanish)
Access promotional materials, Public Service Announcements, and training videos innovative and successful outreach strategies
- No Kid Hungry Outreach Templates (English & Spanish)
Template designed outreach materials that your organization can customize to promote summer meals programs in your city or state
Additional Funding Opportunities:
Please check back for new grant and funding opportunities.
- USDA Summer Meals: Funding & Grant Opportunities – webinar
Find out the great alternatives available to fund your Summer Meals Program, application process, and important deadlines.
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