Conduct Community Outreach
Connecting with community members about where, when, and how children can access summer meals is crucial for a successful program. Think creatively about how to use different channels of communication to help spread the word.
Tips for raising awareness and community participation in your program:
Engage directly with families. Toward the end of the school year, families are planning for changes in their schedules, identifying activities, and learning how to access meals during the summer months. Aim to send summer meals flyers home with students and encourage your school administrators to make announcements to families.
Activate your staff. Consider ways that your staff can conduct outreach at schools and in your community. This can be as simple as talking with students and families at the end of the school year or establishing grassroots teams to go door-to-door with flyers to get the word out in local neighborhoods.
Be a trusted messenger. Keep your summer meals messaging positive, welcoming, and culturally appropriate for the families that you serve. Make sure your outreach team understands the benefits of your summer meals efforts and prepare them to answer questions that come from the community.
Partner with local businesses. Consider posting flyers at local businesses and community centers such as laundromats, grocery stores, churches, health clinics, dentist offices, and even restaurants. When possible, equip these community partners with the information they need to refer families and clients to your summer meals sites.