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Utilizing Collaborative Partnerships to Leverage Resources and Enhance the Summer Meals Program in San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2019

In San Bernardino County, 1 in 5 children experiences food insecurity, 83% of schools are SNAP-Ed eligible, and 72% of students are eligible for Free/Reduced Priced Meals (FRPM). The Summer Food Service Program is intended to fill the hunger gap when school is out; however, only 4% of those receiving FRPM during the school year participated in summer meals. In response, the County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP), a collaborative partnership spearheaded by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health (SBCDPH) Nutrition Program, established a Subcommittee in 2014 to work with organizations represented by education, government, nonprofit, and healthcare organizations which goals are to increase summer meal sites and participation. To accomplish this, CNAP focused on conducting assessments to identify gaps, increasing summer meal promotion, and expanding enrichment activities. In 2018, the 211 Call Center, the county’s community resource hub, implemented messaging to 13,000 callers, SNAP/CalFresh and WIC offices promoted summer meals to clients, 9 kick-off events were held, and CNAP organizations used their spheres of influence to spread the word. School districts coordinated activities at summer meal sites such as physical activity, nutrition education, and literacy-focused activities. These efforts resulted in a 193% increase in summer meal sites from 2013 to 2018 and multiple participating school districts received national awards. Overall, 100% of those participating on the Subcommittee considered the collaborations helpful in enhancing their programs and useful in addressing participation.

Ms. Sabrina Sgambelluri
Executive Secretary II