FFVP is an especially important nutrition resource for children in communities where there is limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Schools with the highest proportion of low-income students are prioritized for the program, and yet often these schools are overwhelmed with the many needs of their students and communities, making it difficult for them to apply for the program. Assistance with the application process from anti-hunger and other child advocacy organizations is crucial to ensuring that the schools with the highest proportions of low-income children participate in the program.
Advocacy and outreach by anti-hunger and child advocacy organizations, and other groups promoting healthy eating, are crucial to ensuring that the schools with the highest proportions of free and reduced-price eligible children apply for and participate in the program.
Strategies to recruit schools with the highest levels of low-income students:
- Work with your state agency to develop a target list of high poverty schools and to strengthen the state agency’s outreach efforts.
- Meet with principals of targeted schools to promote the program, share background materials, and offer to make a presentation about the program to their staff.
- Visit school nutrition staff (including the equipment specialist) to assess refrigeration capabilities/needs. Sometimes schools need additional refrigeration space to participate in the program.
- Help schools complete the FFVP application. See the planning tool for help.
- Promote the flexibility of the program, which can be offered at any time during the school day. For example, even though snacks cannot be offered after school, they can be offered close to the end of the school day.
- Engage school administrators and school board members to ensure there are adequate resources for FFVP. This is an easy program to get behind and support. School administrators can:
- Reach out to school leaders to inform them about the program.
- Develop partnerships with community organizations and parents to build a nutrition education component.
- Make information about FFVP easily accessible through the school district website and in communications with school district staff, parent-teacher organizations, the public health community and others.
- Help generate support in the community by featuring the program at district-wide events.
- Visit the program in action and invite members of the local press. Helping to serve the snack and talking about good nutrition with the children is a great photo opportunity and can be an effective vehicle to publicize the program.