skip to Main Content

Summer Meals Toolkit

Marketing Your Program

No Kid Hungry
Findings have shown that the awareness of free summer meals is low, but the interest is high. Making sure the message and information about your summer meals feeding programs is available and reaching the community is important. Below is a webinar that is available online that includes information to help spread the word about summer meals.
Developing your Summer Meals Marketing Plan

Nebraska Department of Education/Flyers
Contact Hunger Free Heartland for outreach materials or order outreach materials through the Nebraska Department of Education
Contact Hunger Free Heartland
SFSP Outreach Materials Order Form

Raise Awareness
Media is key in raising awareness for your summer. Local newspapers and TV stations can provide a great increase in awareness for your summer meals. To set up advertising or a potential story with local media, call or email your local stations and papers. Click the link below for some tips on contacting the media.
Media Tactics

Community Outreach
Just as important as media, the companies in your community can greatly increase awareness for your summer meals event. Click the link below on tips for reaching out to local businesses.
Community Outreach Tactics

Social Media
Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are key in promoting events. Promoting events in the right way can be difficult. Click the links below for some social media promotion tips.
● Social Media Tips
Social Media Stats
Resource for Social Media Campaign

If you will be hosting many events, create a Facebook Group or Page that people can follow and get updates for your upcoming events.
● How to Create a Facebook Group or Page
Facebook Events can be a good way to raise awareness for your event.
● How to Create a Facebook Event

Door to door canvassing never sounds ideal, but can be one of the most rewarding forms of marketing. Go door to door in the neighborhoods surrounding your summer meals sites, as you may find out more people are interested than you think. Bring flyers that have information about your event and make sure you include your social media information and Facebook Pages and Events.

Enrichment Programming

PE Central is a one-stop place for lesson plans around movement and activities.
PE Central website

Action for Healthy Kids allows you to register with their website to access “Game On.” There you can have access to indoor recess ideas, brain breaks, reading nutrition label materials, nutrition education, and much more! Make sure to activate your account before logging in for the first time.
Action for Healthy Kids toolkit

Get Fit and Flourish, an Illinois-based enhanced physical activity manual is a great resource for physical activity stations and games.
Get Fit and Flourish manual

United Way of Greater Topeka offers a reading curriculum highlighting books such as Cordouroy, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and The Cat in the Hat, along with activities, styles of reading, and engagement tips. Additional statistics highlight why you should choose to implement reading into your summer meals program.

Creative Lesson Plans around Arts and crafts, all categorized differently.
Crayola resources
Kinderart resources resources resources

Big Garden is allowing sites to have access to their full Big Garden Children and Youth Garden Curriculum. To gain access, email for the password and say you are requesting it for use at a summer meals site.
Big Garden resources

The Farmer’s Almanac and Urban Farmer offer a grow calendar for edible gardening. Offer to teach kids about the fruits, veggies, and herbs that grow great in the summer months.
Farmers’s Almanac resources
Urban Farmers resources

Redwood Empire Food Bank delivers healthy meals at over 40 community-based sites every summer. Enrichment activities are provided at select sites for children who may not otherwise have access to summer enrichment. REFB has shared their “Summer Explorers” 5-week curriculum full of fun and easy-to-implement activities.
*Please check with sites/sponsors to see if materials can be provided.
Redwood Empire Food Bank resources
Redwood Empire Foodbank Toolkit

North Coast Food Web provides directions on how to make your own mobile garden in a shopping cart.
North Coast Food Web resources

Nutrition Education and Activities
● Free Resource Library

First Book
● Link to website  – First book serves up a helping of books and educational resources to support these meal sites while they provide healthy options when school is out for the summer. All Summer Food Service Programs are eligible; registration is free.
● Book Bundle
● More Free Book Resources

Summer Food, Summer Moves
● Resource Kit – English and Spanish resource kits to get kids and families engaged in healthy eating and physical activity. Included in kit:
– Operator Activity Guide
– Activity Guides for Families
– Posters
– Flyers
– Placemat
– Recipes
– Additional Resources

Take a Healthy Summer Break
● English 
● Spanish 

This Summer, Eat Hard to Play Hard: A Parent’s Guide
● English 
● Spanish 

Farm to Summer/Farm to School
● Q&A
● Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs (Basics, How and Where to Procure, Fact Sheets, Memos and Regulations, Training)
● Map of Nebraska Farmers Interested in the Farm to School program  
Videos and Webinars:
● Summer Meals Shorts
● Farm to Summer Webcast: Incorporating Local Foods and Educational Activities in Summer Meals Programs
● Local Foods and Enriching Activities in Summer Meal Programs
● Bringing Summer Meals to Farmers Markets

Growing Gardens
● Portland, OR, guide to maintaining school gardens during summer

Food Resource and Action Center Report
● Utilizing Farm to School in other child nutrition programs

California Summer Meal Coalition
● Link to Website 
● Contains webinars, events and other resources on how to keep local sourcing going after school is out

Texas Department of Agriculture; Farm to Summer guide
● Link to Website
● Provides information on how to incorporate Farm to Summer food and activity components at the state level

Healthy Meals Nutrition Education
● Learning Materials and resources for children from preschool until high school available here
● Cooking with Kids (preschool through high school)
● Evaluation Tools

Institute of Child Nutrition Resource Center
● Website with access to education and training material, research, newsletters, and other resources
● Link to Website

Furthering Education/Additional Resources

Nebraska Department of Education
SFSP Webinar Series available:
NDE webinar

Nebraska Summer Food Service Program 2016 Summit Audio Recordings
SFSP Sponsor Panel facilitated by: Tiffany Jones, former Partnership Coordinator of Hunger Free Heartland. Recording
(Panelist Participants include: Sheila Sanford, Food Service Director for Minden Public Schools; Kris Spellman, Nutrition Services Director at Grand Island Public Schools; Toby Schneckloth, Statewide Youth and Children’s Director for Assemblies of God Churches in Nebraska; Brenda Buchholz, Summer Meals Service Provider at Overton Public Schools; Don Winkler, SFSP lead for the Salvation Army in the Omaha area.)

Enrichment Programming by Michelle Sause, Assistant Director of Network Relations for the Food Bank for the Heartland. Recording

Social Media by Heather Callihand, Technology Integration Specialist for Northwest Public Schools in Grand Island. Recording

Staff Training and Compliance by Mike Heyl, Public Health Educator for the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department. Recording


Websites to Assist with Programming

(USDA) United States Department of Agriculture
Summer Food Service Program
Capacity Building
Summer Meals Toolkit
Farm to Summer Factsheet

Share Our Strength
Free Summer Meals for Kids

(NDE) Nebraska Department of Education
Summer Food Service Programs

Center for Rural Affairs
Community Food
Farm to Summer Resources

Midwest Dairy Council

UNL Extension Offices
Nebraska Extension Resources

Funding Opportunities

Nebraska Department of Education Grant
Application Deadline: March 10, 2017
● Awards up to $15,000 a year for start-up sites, or for expansion
● Guidelines
Grant Application (due by 4pm)
*give us a call for any additional clarifications about this grant

Walmart State Giving Program
Application Deadline: May 12, 2017
● Award grants of a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum $200,000
● Application must be submitted online
● Notification about award will be mailed if accepted or emailed if not accepted
● Guidelines
● Two Impact Reports detailing grant use and program outcomes required
● One midterm report will be sent to grantees 6 months after grant awarded
● One final report will be sent to grantees 1 year after grant is awarded
● Application example
● Impact Report example
*give us a call for any additional clarifications about this grant

Women Investing in NE
● Application Deadline: Feb 17, 2017
● Award grants up to $50,000 or more
● Link to guidelines
● Two-page Letter of Inquiry (LOI) needs to be emailed or postmarked by Feb 17 and submitted to below address to be considered:

Lori Shriner
Women Investing in Nebraska
1010 Lincoln Mall Ste 30
Lincoln NE 68508
*give us a call for any additional clarifications about this grant

Lincoln Community Foundation
● Application Deadline: June 13 & Dec 12 2017
● Must be located in Lincoln/Lancaster County
● Contact the Vice President for Community Outreach at 402-474-2345 (or via email at to discuss the grant request
● Register on LCF website
● Submit a Letter of Inquiry (on website) if invited to do so by LCF staff (Due May 1 & Nov 1)
● Submit Grant Application Form (on website) if invited to do so by LCF staff (Due June 13 & Dec 12)
● Grant recipients are required to submit an Evaluation Form one year after receiving a grant award
*give us a call for any additional clarifications about this grant

Want to Become a Sponsor?

Want to sponsor your own site? Check out these links:

● About Summer Food Service Program
Summer Meals Contacts

Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska SFSP

● The Nebraska Sponsor Application is due by May 3rd
● If deadline has been missed, contact NDE at (402) 471-2488 or email at for a possible extension

Unable to Sponsor the Summer Meals Program?

That’s okay, not all possible meal locations can sponsor the SFSP program. If your organization just doesn’t have the time, resources, and/or staff needed to sponsor this program, you can still help by:

● Serving pre-prepared meals delivered to you
● Supervising meals
● Overseeing recreation and enrichment activities
● For more information, contact NDE at (402) 471-2488 or email at


Want your library to host a summer meals site? Check out these links:

Libraries, a perfect fit!
Read and Feed

Step by Step – Lunch at the Library
Program Basics
Determining Eligibility/Library Capacity
Securing Support from Library Leadership and Staff
Finding and Working With a Meal Sponsor