Partnerships in the community can yield untapped resources, including deep knowledge of local needs, prime site locations, and greater outreach to the public. A strong network of partnerships can be built by uniting a wide range of public and private partners, such as food banks, associations, community centers, and State and local organizations, towards a common goal of addressing childhood hunger. Building a coalition of organizations with a like-minded focus helps facilitate increased access to healthy Summer Meals for children and teens.
Spotlight on Red Lodge, Montana!
“Lunch in the Sun” starts each morning in the kitchen of the Red Lodge Boys and Girls Club as the cook prepares all the meals for both the Boys and Girls Club and the summer meal program. The Boys and Girls Club, however, is not the summer meal sponsor. Calvary Episcopal Church sponsors and is administratively responsible for the program, while most of the training and site preparation is done by AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers who serve with the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. Additional volunteers who help set up and serve the meals come from organizations all over town.
Everyone, from the mayor to the child receiving a meal, has had a part in making this Program a success! In true Red Lodge fashion, rather than let the weight of this program rest on one organization, the community decided to band together to see that children are healthy and well-nourished during the summer months. In 20 days, 74 community volunteers gave 113 hours to serve 515 free meals to local kids – what a great first year!
For more information, visit: http://mfbn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Summer-Food-Best-Practice-Guide.pdf
What worked to make summer meals a success?
- Ability to leverage community resources,
- Renewed connections with AmeriCorps VISTA,
- Strong partners, and
- Support from State and local elected leaders.
Want to learn more? Go to the summer toolkit!