Summer Meals

Summer Meals Focus Group Findings 

Share Our Strength partnered with research firm Global Strategy Group to conduct focus groups with low-income parents on summer meals programs to learn about awareness, or lack thereof, among eligible families and barriers or incentives to participating.

Focus groups were conducted in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, AR; Denver, CO; and Baltimore, MD. The focus group participants represented urban, rural and suburban populations and included low-income African American, Latino and Caucasian parents with children ages 6-18.


What Was Tested

  • Familiarity of summer meals programs
  • Barriers to participation
  • Perceived benefits of the program
  • Trusted messengers, partners and summer meal site venues
  • Description of the program
  • Existing marketing materials such as postcards, fliers, radio and TV PSAs to get their reactions to the content and design


Key Topline Findings

  • Awareness of free summer meals is low, but interest is high.
  • Perceived benefits of summer meals programs include free food and free activities (learning and recreational) in a safe environment.
  • Barriers to participation include transportation, questions about safety and legitimacy of the sites, food quality, availability of activities and availability of meals for parents.
  • Schools and churches are preferred summer meals sites.
  • Parents want to receive information about Summer Meals Programs anywhere parents and kids congregate, but specifically from schools, in the mail, on local radio and TV stations, in community newspapers and at local supermarkets.
  • Outreach materials should feature various ages of children including kids and teens, various races of children, kids enjoying activities, fresh fruits and vegetables and for more information options including a phone number, website and texting option, if available.


Full Findings



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