Go, Lunch!, an initiative of the Food & Nutrition Office through Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, serves to provide school-age children with healthy meals throughout the summer. During the school year many children receive free breakfast and lunch while at school. However, during the summer months, these same children struggle to access basic needs like healthy meals, a safe place to hang out with friends and opportunities to continue learning. Go, Lunch! is one way families who experience these hardships can catch a break.
According to Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio, forty percent of students, (717,740 children) received free or reduced priced lunch in the 2019-2020 school year. Over the summer, those meals disappear—leaving those children hungry and looking for their next meal.
Irvin PR’s task was to highlight and promote the Go, Lunch! program and increase awareness and attendance following the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 and 2021 Go, Lunch! seasons.
What We Did:
Irvin PR developed a list of affinity groups including community organizations, churches and gathering places close to key Go, Lunch sites. We then created a community toolkit that included social media copy, blog copy and e-newsletter copy and distributed it to the affinity groups with the goal of reaching those entities’ micro-communities.
We also turned to social media to bring awareness to Go, Lunch!. Drafted social media copy for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts directed people to the Go, Lunch website as did geofencing ads. We utilized social media ads, particularly on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, to reach our target demographic—school-aged children and the parents/caretakers of those children—about the resource that was available to them.
We also coordinated the execution of auto-dialers through Columbus City Schools to directly reach the families of children who have access to daily meals at school, and who might not have access to food over the summer months.
In just one week of running the social media ads through the Columbus area, a combined 97,000 impressions and 58,300 views were generated through Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. We successfully reached our target audience on all three platforms with at least 97.27% of clicks being from teens between the ages of 13-17.
Over the course of the 2022 Go, Lunch! season, Irvin PR utilized local media and earned media spots on all four TV stations in Columbus. Our efforts generated 53 media mentions in Columbus TV and print outlets that translated into $80K in article publicity value with more than 13.0 million potential impressions according to data from Muck Rack
This work culminated and helped serve 217,293 meals at 106 sites across the Columbus area, feeding hundreds of school-aged children and giving them a safe place to learn and play.