SummerPalooza Summits 2017
Summer Nutrition Program Planning Calendar

Planning and marketing for Summer Nutrition Programs is a year-round process. This planning calendar, which debuted at the 2017 SummerPalooza Summits, gives a detailed break-down of what you can do, month-by-month, to have your best summer of serving meals yet.

View the original calendar here. Or, review the information below.


Italic indicates an ongoing action that carries over from month-to-month.
BLUE wording indicates a PROGRAM action step.
ORANGE wording indicates an OUTREACH or MARKETING action step.
* Indicates RESOURCES are available to assist in this action.


  • Attend a SummerPalooza! Summit for marketing and program insight for next summer.
  • Submit Prequalification/Statement of Intent to serve as a NC Summer Nutrition Program sponsor.
  • Begin developing a marketing and outreach campaign.*
  • Research which other community groups and organizations can help your program grow.


  • Initiate the procurement process.
  • Start budget, menu, and staff planning.*
  • Begin exploring the potential for serving mobile meals.*
  • Continue developing a marketing and outreach campaign.*
  • Identify neighborhoods, schools, and other organizations that work with families you want to reach.
  • Reach out to potential community partners – via letter, email, phone call or visit.


  • January 2, 2018: ALL Sponsors - Online Mandatory Training Modules become available.
  • Complete the NC Summer Nutrition Programs training modules.
  • Complete and submit documentation for the pre-qualification process.
  • Recruit sites based on established program goals and the neighborhoods you want to serve.
  • Ask community partners for outreach and program input.
  • Create outreach materials for community partners to use in helping to grow your program.*


  • February 15, 2018: Attend the 2018 NC Child Hunger Leaders Conference.
  • Complete the NC Summer Nutrition Programs training modules.
  • Begin your Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) application.
  • Continue the procurement process; complete the specification, quotes, and Invitation for Bid (IFB).
  • Attend a Policy Update hosted by NCDPI in your area.
    • February 20, 2018: Village Inn, Clemmons
    • February 20, 2018: NC TeleCenter, Williamston
    • February 21, 2018: McKimmon Center, Raleigh
    • February 22, 2018: McKimmon Center, Raleigh
    • February 22, 2018: Whispering Pines Country Club, Whispering Pines
    • February 22, 2018: Cabarrus Event Center, Concord
    • February 22, 2018: New Bern Convention Center, New Bern
    • February 23, 2018: NC Arboretum, Asheville
  • Continue site recruitment and planning.*
  • Begin volunteer recruitment.*
  • Follow up on community partner action items and secure their engagement.*
  • Identify and apply for grant opportunities.*
  • Finalize specific messages and determine distribution of information to ensure families and children know about your program.*


  • March 15, 2018:
    • School Food Authorities(SFAs) Letter of Intent submission deadline
    • Non-SFAs Pre-Qualification submission deadline
  • Submit the pre-qualification requirement, if you have not already done so.
  • Register for the Required Annual Continuing Education (RACE).
  • Finalize procurement contracts with vendors or distributors.
  • Make a list of news media (online, print, TV and radio) that might help get the word out about your program—include public information staff for the local school district, government, and community organizations.
  • Determine which events, news and stories to share with the media.
  • Develop outreach materials (flyers, banners, yard signs, etc.) to inform families where to find meals.  Remember to create print, electronic and social media materials.*
  • Include the texting feature (Text FOODNC to 877-877) and website ( in promotions to provide up-to-date site information all summer long.


  • April 2, 2018: Deadline for SFSP online mandatory training modules completion
  • April 2018: Training (locations and exact dates to be announced by NCDPI)
    • New Non-SFAs RACE Training # 1 and # 2
    • Returning Non-SFAs RACE Training # 1 and # 2
    • SFA RACE Training # 1 and #2
  • Summer Seamless Option (SSO) sponsors attend the RACE webinar (date to be announced by NCDPI).
  • Confirm meal production and delivery plans.
  • Conduct site/administrative staff trainings.
  • Begin pre-operational visits.
  • Review and update the SFSP application.
  • Submit the application for approval.
  • Continue marketing and outreach activities. Remember to keep engaging community partners.*
  • Develop a specific story “pitch” and press release to promote your program and site(s).*
  • Begin planning for a kickoff event.*
  • Think ahead: Assess the opportunity to transition to serve as a sponsor or site for CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals.



  1. Ensure accuracy of site applications.
  2. Serve meals at approved sites.
  3. Conduct point-of-service meal counts.
  4. Monitor sites, as applicable.
  5. Maintain costs and meal records.
  6. Notify NCDPI of any field trips.
  7. Notify NCDPI of any site changes.

Weekly (Pick a consistent day.)

  1. Continue to get the word out about meal sites “open” to the public.
  2. Collect daily meal counts/meal preparation records.
  3. Review the accuracy of meal count and meal preparation.
  4. Update application changes, as applicable.
  5. Update the average daily participation.
  6. Consolidate the weekly meal count, accurately.
  7. Complete 1st Week/4 Week review.


  1. Consolidate weekly meal counts into a monthly meal count.
  2. Submit the claim for reimbursement – 10th day of the month.
  3. Complete financial reports.
  4. Complete the monthly inventory (optional).


  • May 15, 2018: ALL Sponsors – Initial Online Application Submission Deadline
  • Attend a Policy Update hosted by NCDPI in your area.
    • May 1, 2018: Village Inn, Clemmons
    • May 2, 2018: NC TeleCenter, Williamston
    • May 3, 2018: Cabarrus Event Center, Concord
    • May 3, 2018: McKimmon Center, Raleigh
    • May 3, 2018: Whispering Pines Country Club, Whispering Pines
    • May 4, 2018: McKimmon Center, Raleigh
    • May 4, 2018: NC Arboretum, Asheville
    • May 4, 2018: New Bern Convention Center, New Bern
  • Complete your online application.
  • Train site staff, volunteers, and operational and administrative staff.
  • Complete the beginning inventory.
  • Begin to advertise open meal sites.*
  • Send a press release or pitch to media contacts 7-10 days ahead of when you want the story to appear.*
  • Follow up with an email or call 3-4 days later to media contacts; arrange an interview or site visit.
  • Ask the school district central office, local schools, and community organizations to help distribute outreach materials. Work with public information officers to determine the best methods to reach children and families.*
  • Make a plan to get parents and children to help with outreach.*
  • Decide the types of fun/enrichment activities the sites can host to attract more children to eat.
  • Finalize plans to host a kickoff event.*
  • Make a plan to evaluate what worked and what to do differently to improve future outreach.


  • June 10, 2018: May Claim Submission Deadline
  • Market your program continuously to make sure the children show up and keep returning!*
  • Host kickoff, media and community events, such as a family day at the park, game day, or concert to promote your program.*
  • Invite community leaders and legislators to visit one of your sites.*


  • July 10, 2018: June Claim Submission Deadline
  • Update online and site applications.
  • Continue promotional activities. Host a “spike” event to maintain or boost program attendance.*


  • August 10, 2018: July Claim Submission Deadline
  • Complete ending inventory.
  • Prepare your NC Summer Nutrition Program sites for a transition to CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals.*
  • Keep promoting throughout the final stretch of summer.
  • Celebrate the wrap-up and all the hard work with an event with your team like a picnic or other social event.


  • September 10, 2018:  August Claim Submission Deadline
  • Complete year-end financial reporting.
  • Conduct a program evaluation:
    • Compare the end-of-year finances to initial projections.
    • Conduct site surveys or convene focus groups to gather feedback.*
    • Prepare a checklist of key findings to help shape your program for next summer.
  • Register for the 2018 SummerPalooza! Summit.
  • Consider sending a press release to the media with results of your NC Summer Nutrition Program success.*
  • Remember to send thank you notes to program staff, volunteers, community partners, and the media.*


  • Register for the 2018 SummerPalooza! Summit, if you have not already done so.
  • Identify unserved or underserved areas for potential new sites. Use online mapping tools to assist in this process.*
  • Develop goals and strategies for the next year.*
  • Remember to include promotional goals in your strategies.*

Find Free Summer Meals Near You

Available June through August

Find meals near you:

Don't forget:

  • Contact sites to verify information
  • Check school, district, or organization's website, social media, and other communications for the most up-to-date information

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