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January 2020
National School Lunch Program
Summer Meals Program


Celebrating 2019 Summer Meals Program successes

Thanks to all the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors for making 2019 another successful year for the Summer Meals program and for providing nutritious meals to Colorado’s youth during the summer months. Notable 2019 accomplishments and initiatives include:

  • The statewide needs assessment that helped identify opportunities, challenges and training needs for increasing program participation and access. The assessment results will help inform new training sessions and resources this new year.

  • Implementation of the third year of the Community Meals Pilot, in partnership with the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, resulting in higher community engagement and access to summer meals. 

  • The rollout of the statewide SFSP marketing campaign, in collaboration with the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger and other partners, that resulted in 5,083 texts to the hotline, a 113% year-over-year increase, and  7,751 visits to the Kids Food Finder website. This year, 14,465 promotional magnets and 750 yard signs were also distributed.

  • The text message campaign pilot, with the Integrated Nutrition Education Program and Culture of Wellness, increased program awareness and reached 2,470 English- and Spanish-speaking parents. Participants received two SFSP texts and of those who responded to a post-campaign survey, 30% said they visited a summer meal site. Read the full results.

To learn more about 2019 SFSP sponsor successes and challenges and ideas for next summer, watch the SFSP Returning Sponsors Webinar Recording.


Guidance on USDA foods and fluid milk delivery issues 

The School Nutrition team is aware of the delivery issues School Food Authorities (SFA) are experiencing both with USDA foods and/or fluid milk deliveries. Guidance on making appropriate menu modifications to meet meal pattern requirements is available. Please contact Jon Padia for issues related to the meal patterns and Megan Johnson for issues related to procurement or contract management.

For specific questions or concerns about USDA Foods delivery, please contact the Colorado Department of Human Services Food Distribution Program

Apply for USDA Equipment Assistance Grant 

School Food Authorities can now apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Equipment Grant. Submit the intent to apply form by Wednesday, Jan. 15, and the application by Tuesday, Feb. 11, both via Survey Monkey. Tune in to the grant informational webinar at 2 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 14, to hear more about this opportunity, including how to apply. Register for the webinar now and join the webinar via AdobeConnect

For more information about this grant, visit the Grants and Awards webpage. For questions, contact Megan Johnson at or 303-866-5983.



On-site monitoring forms due Feb. 1

National School Lunch Program sponsors with more than one site are required to complete on-site monitoring by Feb. 1 every school year. Requirements and templates can be found on the School Nutrition website.

For questions, contact Kerri Link at or 303-866-3686.


ACSN meeting

The Advisory Council for School Nutrition (ACSN) will meet on Thursday, Feb. 20, to discuss upcoming school nutrition legislation, the USDA foods situation and other school nutrition issues with school nutrition staff. Contact your ACSN regional representative to ensure your voice is heard at the meeting.

For questions, contact Vivien Skrupskis at or 303-866-6661. 

Sponsor students for the 2020 Presidential Environmental Youth Awards

The Presidential Environmental Youth Awards recognize outstanding K-12 students dedicated to furthering environmental education in classrooms and communities across the nation. Past awarded projects focused on reducing food waste, promoting healthy school environments and encouraging sustainable agricultural practices. Learn more about the award, applications are due by Wednesday, Jan. 15.

For questions, contact Alicia Grove at or 720-795-2038. 

2020 Colorado Produce Safety University finalists

Notifications for those selected to attend the 2020 Produce Safety University (PSU) will be sent by Wednesday, Feb. 19. The School Nutrition Unit prioritizes nominees from a variety of district sizes and generally considers SFAs who have not attended PSU in the past. Congratulations to the finalists:

  • Angie Pacheco, lead chef at Adams County 14

  • Kristina Flaten, administrative dietitian District 49

  • Sarah Blaida, nutrition services operations manager at Adams 12 Five Star Schools

  • Kathy Underhill, food distribution programs manager at the Colorado Department of Human Services

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations! For questions, contact Alicia Grove at or 720-795-2038. 


Enter the infrared thermometer giveaway

In celebration of the one year anniversary of The DISH e-newsletter and to thank your readership, the School Nutrition team is giving away two infrared thermometers to child nutrition program sponsor organizations. Please complete this form by Monday, Jan. 27, to enter the contest. Winners will be announced in the February edition of The DISH.

For questions, contact Alicia Grove at or 720-795-2038. 

Webinar: Boost breakfast & lunch participation with budget-friendly techniques 

Join Dana Bolder, former school nutrition director at Jackson County Central Schools in Minnesota, at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14,  for a webinar in which she will share budget-friendly ways to market lunch and breakfast programs. Attendees will learn about free and inexpensive marketing techniques, like social media, and how to incorporate students in program promotion to increase participation. Register for the webinar here.

For questions, contact Gabriella Warner at or 720-827-5144. 

Check out School Nutrition website updates 

To increase access to resources and improve navigation, the School Nutrition team has updated and improved its website. Check out some of the latest updates, including a new National School Lunch Program (NSLP) home page, NSLP Requirements page, data page, and grants and awards page.

For questions or feedback on the changes, contact Vivien Skrupskis at or 303-866-6661. 

January reimbursement claim deadline

As a reminder, November 2019 claims are due on Wednesday, Jan. 29. View the reimbursement claim due dates posted on the School Nutrition website for planning purposes.



Become a Summer Meals sponsor or expand your current program
Help ensure children in your community have access to summer meals by becoming a new Summer Meals Program sponsor or referring an organization in your community interested in sponsorship. 

If you’re already a sponsor, consider making a more significant impact this year by expanding your program and adding more sites, meal types or serving days.

Learn more about the program and how to apply by visiting the Summer Food Service Program webpage or contact Carrie Thielen at for individualized support.

Apply for a National Child Nutrition Conference scholarship 
Over $20,000 is available for scholarships to Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to attend the National Child Nutrition Conference, April 14-16, in Atlanta. Apply by Thursday, Jan.16, through the National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors Association, for the opportunity to join over 1,700 attendees at the premier training and networking event for the professional community supporting children and adult nutrition after school and during the summer months. Apply now for a scholarship.

For questions, contact Ashley Moen at or 303-866-6653.

Copyright © 2020 Colorado Department of Education, All rights reserved.

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