Evaluation of the Summer Food Service Program Enhancement Demonstrations

Project Overview

The goal of this project was to evaluate 4 statewide, multiyear demonstrations to test new innovative strategies to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). These enhancements consist of 4 distinct alternatives: 1) incentives to extend the duration of program operations, 2) funding for educational or recreational activities at summer sites, 3) noncongregate meal delivery in rural areas, and 4) backpack food packages for weekend and holiday use. One State was selected for the first 2 enhancement demonstrations and 6 States were selected for the second 2 enhancement demonstrations. These demonstrations, collectively titled Summer Food for Children (SFC) demonstrations, were aimed at preventing food insecurity and hunger among children during the summer months. They were mandated by the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Insight conducted an outcome evaluation for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to assess changes in characteristics of sponsors/sites, meal counts, average daily attendance (ADA), and program participation.

As part of the research, Insight:

  • Assisted FNS in selecting demonstration States and comparison States
  • Developed meaningful outcome and output measures
  • Collected, edited, and tabulated SFSP administrative information at the State, sponsor, and site level across 5 program years
  • Designed and developed a Sponsor-Site administrative database with supporting codebook
  • Prepared an annual report to assess a variety of changes in key outcomes

The results of this evaluation provided FNS with information to make decisions about potential SFSP changes by comparing these diverse mechanisms designed to increase SFSP participation.

Core Activities

Literature Reviews and Environmental Scans; Demonstration Design and Evaluation; Report Development and Presentation; Secondary Data Analysis and Simulations; Database Development; Public Use Files


An annual report was produced during each of the 3 years of the study. These include: