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Become a Sponsor

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 Sponsor

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

Becoming a sponsor requires the highest level of commitment. Sponsoring means acting as the guide, or the involved mentor for SFSP sites—ensuring the success of the SFSP in your community. If you currently have a well-organized feeding program, soup kitchen or pantry that provides meals, you may be an ideal candidate. Sponsors should be able to provide a capable staff, managerial skills,
and food service abilities.

As a sponsor, you will:
✔ Attend your state agency’s training
✔ Locate eligible sites
✔ Hire, train, and supervise staff
✔ Arrange for meals to be prepared or delivered
✔ Monitor your sites
✔ Prepare claims for reimbursementarrange for meals to be prepared or delivered and monitor your sites.

Sponsors are vital to ensuring that the SFSP program in Texas runs efficiently and that all kids who are eligible and in need of adequate nutrition during the summer months are served. If your faith-based organization has the resources, is willing to dedicate time to the Summer Food Service Program, and has the full support of your pastor or faith leader, then becoming a sponsor might be your opportunity to provide maximum support.

Who can be a sponsor?
To be eligible, your organization must fit at least one of the following categories:
✔ Public or private nonprofit schools
✔ Units of local, municipal, county, tribal, or state government
✔ Private nonprofit organizations
✔ Public or private nonprofit camps
✔ Public or private nonprofit universities or colleges

Sponsor checklist:
1. Determine current need for sites

❑ Contact your TDA area office to find out if sponsors are needed in your area. Find the
office in your area here.
❑ Determine program eligibility. Sponsors of SFSP sites must document program eligibility
based on the number of free and reduced school meals served in the local district. (For more
information on eligibility, see page 28.)
❑ Determine the number of sites you can effectively administer as a sponsor. Determine how many sites you will be able to run, are needed based on your capacity.)

2. Decide what type of site(s) you will run

❑ Choose an Open, Camp, or Enrolled Site. Open sites operate in an area where 50% or more of the children living in the area are eligible for free and reduced school meals. If this requirement is met, then any child 18 or younger may participate in this program regardless of family income. Closed Enrollment sites require children to register as participants or “enroll.” Again, as long as 50% of
the enrolled children come from families with incomes equal to or less than 185% of the federal poverty level, the site can receive reimbursement. Camps are able to act as sites; however, the only meals that may be reimbursed are those provided to children who are eligible to receive free and reduced school lunches. This type of site is particularly appropriate to religiously affiliated summer programs like VBS or camp programs.
❑ Evaluate your proposed sites on whether the site can offer quality meal service, quality activities, and adequate serving capacity.

3. Gather necessary documentation
❑ Gather necessary documentation for your TDA application and wait for TDA to announce their application for 2011.
❑ Learn more at squaremeals.org.

4. Register for TDA training.
Training is required for new CE’s(Sponsors) before they can operate sites. A pre-operational visit from TDA will occur at some point before meal service begins. Once your organization has gone through the application process and has had its site(s) approved, you can move on to other duties.

5. Appoint site supervisors
❑ Schedule and provide training for site supervisors and other staff.
❑ Coordinate with supervisors and facility leaders on what dates your SFSP will run.

6. Decide a meal plan strategy
This is your opportunity as a site sponsor to use your organization’s philosophy on healthy foods and sustainability to influence the types of food your sites will provide. You may choose to develop partnerships with food banks, local TDA representatives, local farmers’ markets and garden co-ops, or other entities.
❑ Coordinate with your site supervisors on sources for meals.
❑ Decide what type of meals you will serve.

7. Plan additional healthy activities
❑ With your team, decide what sort of activities you will offer during the summer months alongside the Summer Food Service Program. Promoting health and physical activity is a big part of what will make your SFSP successful.

8. Create awareness

❑ Get your community excited about the program. Use the communication tips found here. 

9. Kick off your summer food program!