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Become a Site

What's the difference between a site and a sponsor?

Sponsors are the organizations that run SFSP in the local community. Sites are the physical locations where the food is served. Each site must have a sponsor that is financially and administratively responsible for the site (or, usually, a number of sites in a local area). A sponsor may prepare its own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or contract for meals with a food service management company (vendor). The sponsor often arranges for meals to be prepared at a central location and then has them delivered to a number of sites according to the number of children each site serves. If your site has its own kitchen, you may want to prepare meals yourself. If your kitchen is not on the premises, you may still want to prepare your own meals, and then transport them to the site. School districts, municipal park programs and food banks are examples of large local organizations that often serve as SFSP sponsors. If there is a large local organization already functioning as a sponsor in your area, it may be simplest for your congregation to become a site for that sponsor. Sites can sign up for SFSP through the early part of the summer, but sponsors must apply by mid April, so it’s a good idea to find a sponsoring organization early in the year if your congregation wants to be a site.

Become a Feeding Site

 Although it is too late to become a feeding site for 2010, read more to learn about the process.

Organizations that do not possess sponsoring capabilities, but still want to participate in the summer food program can act as a site. You can coordinate your site participation with other youth outreach programs that you operate such as summer camps, vacation religious education, youth day events, or mission/service activities.

In the SFSP system, food sites are supervised by sponsors, who report to and are reimbursed by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Feeding site checklist:
1. Determine current need for sites

Find out if there is a need for more sites in your area or if it would be more beneficial for you to partner with current sites and sponsors in your area. Start by:
❑ Contacting your TDA area office to find out if there is a need for more sites in your area
❑ Working with your TDA area office to determine if any local sponsors are in need of sites. Find your area TDA office here.

❑ Contact your local Texas Hunger Initiative office to determine your eligibility and the need in your area. A map of sites from the previous summer (always a good indicator of where sites will continue to be located) is available at: www.squaremeals.org/Portasl/8/geomap/Mappage.htm

❑ Connect with local Sponsors to determine eligibility and application requirements. A list of Sponsors, called “Contracting Entities” by TDA is available on the website under “How can I participate in SFSP?” The list is called 2013 CE list.

2. Complete a site application
The deadline for sponsors to apply is April 15, 2010. Sites can apply until as late as mid-June subject to the availability of sponsors, but since sponsors need to know as much about their sites as possible when they apply, the earlier your congregation can commit, the better.

3. Establish your site

Site eligibility is determined based on the number of families in the area who qualify for free or reduced school meals, the poverty rate in your area, and the type of site you decide to run. If you are eligible and an area sponsor is willing to sponsor your site, then move on to the planning steps. If there are no available sponsors or your eligibility is in question but you have committed volunteers, you can provide volunteers for other sites in need. Your current summer youth programs (such as summer camps, VBS, etc.) may serve as sites, if eligibility requirements are met and maintained.
❑ Contact your TDA area office to find out poverty level numbers or free/reduced lunch rates for your area
❑ With your sponsor, decide what type of site you will operate and what dates the site will run.

4. Designate a site supervisor
The Site Supervisor will be responsible for:
❑ Record-keeping for the site
❑ Maintaining other necessary paperwork
❑ Serving as a liaison with the site sponsor
❑ Planning and organizing daily activities at the site.

5. Determine a training schedule
❑ Determine when your site sponsor is facilitating training sessions and have your volunteers and site supervisor attend.

6. Plan a meal strategy
❑ Coordinate with your sponsor regarding your site’s sources for meals.

7. Plan additional healthy activities
❑ With your team and sponsor, decide what sort of activities you will offer during the summer months alongside the Summer Food Service Program. The combination of healthy foods and physical education will allow your SFSP to promote unique and important values.

8. Prepare a site needs list
❑ Communicate with your sponsor about what is needed to prepare your site for the summer

9. Plan outreach events
❑ Plan outreach events to get your community and neighborhood excited about the program.
❑ Contact your local Texas Hunger Initiative Office; they can provide best practice strategies, research, and materials to assist you in advertising your campaign. A few simple and easy ideas:

  • Host a kick-off event to promote your new site and provide activities for families and kids
  • Use the free TDA outreach materials to promote your site in nearby neighborhoods and local businesses, libraries, churches, schools etc.
  • Make a sign that lists dates and times of meals and hang it outside where passing cars and foot traffic can see it.

10. Kick off your summer food program!