Students in Rochester, New York City and Yonkers — school districts that have the highest student populations — will have access to meals that include dairy this summer as ADA North East adapts its annual Summer Meals program efforts in response to COVID-19 restrictions. Summer Meals, like school breakfast and lunch programs, are federally funded and served with milk. Last year more than seven million kids in New York City alone received meals, helping families that would have to spend an additional $300 a month to replace the meals their children would normally get at school.

ADA North East is adopting new ways to reach school districts and families during COVID-19 to raise awareness and ultimately participation in Summer Meals.

A  Summer Meals Digital Toolkit was developed to help plan and prepare meal programs and sent in an e-blast to school food service directors, superintendents and principals. 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 new method to help families 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, 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, including former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas, and U.S. Olympic athlete English Gardner will also be placed on the school district websites and social media outlets to direct families to program sites.