ADA North East is adapting its Summer Meals program efforts in response to COVID-19 restrictions to ensure students have access to school meals that include dairy. Milk sales will get a boost because Summer Meals, like school breakfast and lunch programs, are all federally funded and served with milk. Millions of students in our region — including seven million in New York City alone – depend on these meals during the summer months, and families would have to spend an additional $300 per month to replace the meals their children would normally receive at school.

We are working within eight cities this summer that have the highest student populations to help families find meal locations, including:

  • Newark, N.J.
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • New York City
  • Yonkers, N.Y.
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Baltimore County, Md.
  • Colonial/New Castle, Del.

More than 1,800 school food service directors and nearly 13,000 superintendents and principals received an e-blast notifying them of the Summer Meals Digital Toolkit to help plan and promote their meal program. The kit includes a letter to parents, sample menus and recipe ideas, customizable flyer to promoted distributions, social media posts and public service announcement scripts for radio, bulk milk servings calculator, best practices for keeping milk cold, and USDA updates, among other resources.

Another way we are helping families know how to find meal locations so kids don’t go hungry is by using digital marketing techniques like “geotargetedâ€_x009d_ ads on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Each targeted city gets a version of the ad where families can click on the post that takes them to the website of that area’s Summer Meals. They can then use the program location finder to identify the closest site. For example, in major cities like New York and Philadelphia, we can narrow focus to specific zip codes where the need is the greatest, and where Summer Meals locations are active.

Video messages featuring our NFL partner players and U.S. Olympic athlete English Gardner will also be placed on targeted school district websites and social media outlets to direct families to program sites.