A common challenge for summer meal sponsors is a lack of transportation to bring children and meals together. Many sponsors throughout the country have responded to this challenge with innovations, such as retrofitting buses and shuttles, tapping community volunteerism, and utilizing other models of collaboration to either bring children, or deliver meals to sites. In addition to planning, partnership, and creativity, taking advantage of funding opportunities has enabled many sponsors to overcome transportation barriers.
Spotlight on Huntsville, Alabama!
In its second year as a summer meal sponsor, Huntsville City Schools recognized that action was needed to help children get to the city’s public school sites. To meet this challenge, the school district partners with the City of Huntsville to offer free bus passes for children ages 18 and under to ride the Huntsville Shuttle to the sites. The specially designed bus passes are distributed to schools, prior to closing, and summer meal sites.
In addition to offering free bus passes, the school district partners with faith-based and community organizations to transport children to sites using school buses. Huntsville City schools also sells meals to adults — $2.50 for breakfast, $4 for lunch and dinner — which encourages children and parents to participate and helps the school district pay the operational costs at the schools where they offer the meals.
What worked to make summer meals a success?
- Ability to leverage community resources.
- Strong partners, and
- Support from state and local elected leaders.
Want to learn more? Go to the summer toolkit!