Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Federal Summer Nutrition Programs (SNP), including the Summer Food Service Program and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option, are highly underutilized compared with programs such as the NSLP. The North Carolina (NC) Department of Public Instruction and No Kid Hungry NC host annual SummerPalooza! Summits to support organizations and community partners in successfully operating and expanding the SNP. Summits include engaging presentations/activities, peer learning, and program recognition/celebration. In the fall of 2018, four regional summits were held. Our objective was to assess whether attendance at a 2018 SummerPalooza! Summit influenced participants’ intentions to engage in recommended SNP strategies.
Methods : We administered a retrospective pre/post evaluation questionnaire at the end of each summit. The questionnaire asked for level of agreement (completely agree to completely disagree) with information learned during the summits. Change in likelihood of engaging in recommended strategies was measured using a four-point Likert scale that ranged from very likely to very unlikely. We calculated frequencies and means and used paired t tests to assess change from before to after the summits.
Results : A total of 232 individuals attended a SummerPalooza! Summit and 205 evaluation questionnaires were completed. Ninety-eight percent of participants completely or somewhat agreed that they learned about new resources, gained ideas for potential new partners, and gained ideas for potential new strategies to implement in future summers. There was a significant increase (p< .0001) from before to after the summits in intention to use the recommended strategies next summer for all strategies assessed, including reaching out to a new potential partner, talking with an elected official, offering enrichment activities, encouraging others to support the SNP, promoting the SNP to children and families, using NC SNP marketing materials and resources, and referring to/sharing County Profiles with SNP data.
The SummerPalooza! Summits were successful at helping participants learn about new ideas and increasing the likelihood that they use recommended strategies for successfully operating and expanding the SNP. Other states should consider using the SummerPalooza! Summit model for supporting the SNP.
Funding Sources : None