Best Practices Toolkit to help schools serve nutritious, summer meals!

The Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) provides a vital service to Nebraska communities by providing children ages one to 18 with free meals during the months when school is out. Kids can show up to a safe, welcoming location — often at a school or local community organization — to eat a balanced and nutritious meal that keeps them active and healthy all summer long. 

90,000 summer meals served!

In the summer of 2019, 72 organizations and districts in Nebraska sponsored the SFSP, opening 244 sites across the state! Although sites served nearly 900,000 meals, Nebraska continues to rank near the bottom in summer meal participation in the US. We’re ready to change this.

New local Nebraska research, observations, and interviews were put into best practices to ensure meal sites have the tools and resources they need to succeed and increase participation in years to come.

The new Nebraska Summer Food Service Program Best Practices Toolkit describes successful practices of current Nebraska SFSP sponsors and site coordinators including in the areas of advertising, menu, activities, program design. Combining anecdotes and statistics, the toolkit is a wealth of knowledge and ideas for current and future Nebraska SFSP sponsors.

Grant application closing soon

The toolkit also highlights the Nebraska Department of Education’s SFSP Expansion Grant that is available to Nebraska sponsors each year for up to $15,000. This is an amazing opportunity to grow or initiate an SFSP location, implement using proven best practices, and see more kids eating at summer meal sites in Nebraska. 

The 2020 grant application opened on Jan. 21, 2020 and closes on Feb. 28, 2020.

Support current and future sponsors

Two webinar trainings on the best practices and findings included in the Toolkit were held in Mid-February by Nebraska Appleseed and NDE. Topics included on-site activities, building partnerships, menu planning, and advertising. Both webinars include success stories and examples from current Nebraska SFSP sponsors.

More information about Nebraska Appleseed’s summer food work including access to the webinar training recording and the toolkit, go to neappleseed.org/summerfood. If you have questions, contact me at esavaiano@neappleseed.org or 402-438-8853 ext. 126.

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