Planning the Program:
Evaluating and Selecting Sponsors and Sites
Evaluating an Area
It is important that a sponsor adequately evaluate the needs and resources of the area(s) it hopes to serve prior to making final plans for site operations. In particular, a sponsor should try to determine the type and size of the program that would best meet the needs of the community.
As part of the inquiry into the community's needs, a sponsor should:
- ask parks and recreation centers about their summer recreation programs;
- contact youth organizations, including YMCAs, YWCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and scout troops about their summer plans;
- contact minority referral sources and relevant minority organizations in the prospective site area;
- contact other groups and organizations in the area that may be planning to participate in the SFSP;
- contact local parent groups to determine the level of parental support; and ensure that the site is eligible.
After sponsors have made these initial contacts in any area(s) they hope to serve, they will have an easier time evaluating different sites and deciding on the size of their operations. Sponsors will have to make three especially important decisions. They must:
- select the particular sites where they will serve meals to children, closely examining the circumstances if they plan to have several sites in the same neighborhood;
- decide how many sites they will sponsor during the summer; and
- determine how many children they will serve at each site they sponsor.
If sponsors take particular care in making these decisions before their programs start, they may be able to prevent problems that could arise later.
Since sponsors must assume administrative and financial responsibility for total program operations at all sites under their supervision, they must be certain that a site can offer a quality meal service before they decide to sponsor that site. The following paragraphs outline several major issues that should be considered when the sponsor evaluates sites.
Meal Service Facilities
Sponsors are responsible for choosing the most appropriate facilities available for food service. If sponsors prefer on-site meal preparation, they should visit all sites to:
- make sure that sites are properly equipped with the appropriate facilities and equipment for meal preparation and service for the anticipated number of children; and
- check that sites can meet state and local public health standards and have or can obtain the required health department certification. The sanitation or health inspector from the local health department can assist in complying with state and local rules and regulations.
Because of the many variables at different sites, the kinds of equipment that will be needed will vary based on the number of children being served and the type of menu being prepared. During the visit determine the condition of the equipment and, if appropriate, delegate responsibility for maintenance and repairs. Whether a sponsor plans to have the meals prepared or delivered by a food service management company, school food service, or a central kitchen, the food preparation, holding, and delivery capabilities should be checked. Sponsors should determine whether meals will be served and consumed inside or outside. If regular meal service is outdoors, sponsors must make sure there is adequate indoor space for meal service during inclement weather.