In May 2020, No Kid Hungry’s Center for Best Practices distributed a survey to organizations serving food to kids in the context of COVID-19 school closures. Schools and other community organizations shared details about how they are serving meals and other food to families, the worries that are keeping them up at night, the children they fear they are not reaching, and the innovative strategies that are working well for them right now. Their responses provide insight into the challenges confronting organizations serving kids as they embark on the next school year.
When the pandemic forced schools to close this past spring, everything changed. Many meal providers found themselves rapidly adapting their operations to reach kids in their communities. In some instances, these new models and programs really worked, sometimes better than before. This report showcases their most creative tactics, illustrated by case studies that were informed by interviews. Innovative ideas fell broadly into five categories: innovations in meals served, outreach, delivery, partnership, and innovations beyond food.