Promote Summer Meals

Child eats fruit and gives a thumbs up

The Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) has a number of resources to help promote the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to children and parents in your area. Below are some ideas on how to make your program successful.

Hold a Blitz Day, press event, or summer kickoff

  • Blitz Days help spread the word about the SFSP in your community. During Blitz Days, volunteers canvass specific neighborhoods or talk to people in a busy area of town. Download the End Hunger Connecticut guide to planning your Blitz Day. 
  • Hand out flyers to everyone you talk to, leave door hangers at houses, or put up posters in community gathering spaces during the day.
  • A summer kickoff or press event gets children and families excited for the SFSP. 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.

Get creative with your programming

  • Invite special guests such as magicians, traveling zoos, local politicians, grandparents, or favorite teachers to generate excitement about your program.
  • Feature fun and exciting meals like barbeques or lunches served on frisbees.
  • Ensure that kids stay for both breakfast and lunch by keeping them occupied with activities that encourage physical fitness, nutrition, and learning.

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.

Use incentives to retain your participants

  • Kids love free stuff! Raffle off donated prizes to kids who participate in the program. Children who attend frequently should have the greatest chance of winning.

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 SFSP 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.
  • Use our downloadable or printed materials for promoting the SFSP.

Learn more: 

Start a Summer Meals Program 

Promote Summer Meals

Find a Summer Meal Site

Summer Meals Kickoff