Many South Carolina students rely on school meals – especially in underserved and rural areas. But what happens when school is out for the summer? That’s where no-cost food service programs like Summer Break Café come in.

An initiative of the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE), there are many Summer Break Cafés located throughout the state, like at schools, public housing centers, playgrounds, recreation centers, parks, churches and many other facilities. Having access to healthy meals during summer break not only helps decrease the effects of hunger and malnutrition, having to rely on meals with poor nutrition can result in reduced in-school performance and make children more prone to illness and health issues. Needless to say, access to healthy meals is an important issue.

To help build awareness of the program, and reach as many families and children as possible, we were asked to create a statewide communications campaign. That effort kicked off in the second half of June and included:

Logo design and branded promotional materials

Summer Break Café Logo

 

Organic and paid social content

A statewide TV commercial and radio commercial

An appearance at a Columbia Fireflies baseball game

Double Dutch Team

Ready, set, go!

With a quick turnaround and a tight budget, beginning production on the TV commercial was a priority. Our concept required more than a dozen kids (who were mostly still in school at the time), the right location, bikes, a skateboarder, scooters, meals and sidewalk chalk… lots and lots of sidewalk chalk.

Part of the idea for the spot was to create the Summer Break Café logo in chalk and use that as an end-card with the website, through which viewers can locate a site near them and get additional information. Kids were encouraged to make their own art with additional chalk as the shoot progressed.

Creating the Summer Break Cafe logo by hand

One shot, lots of takes

The majority of the spot is a semi-choreographed, one-shot technique that captures a diversity of children while a young announcer explains the program. There were also a few special effects. Here’s a hint. The first time you see the jump rope scene, the kids spinning the rope are only holding handles. A production assistant came in behind the camera and handed them real ropes for the second time you see them. A little Columbiawood magic.

Another fun fact is that our jump ropers are no ordinary jumpers. As mentioned above, they are a few of Columbia’s own Double Dutch Forces. The nationally recognized Double Dutch team placed in the top five in the world after competing at the World Competition in Connecticut in 2019.

Chalk one up to persistence

Despite a weather delay that pushed our shoot to the weekend, we created an engaging campaign in a short amount of time that the SC Department of Education can use for years to come. If you’d like to learn more about the Summer Break Café program or even become a sponsor, visit SummerBreakCafe.com.

Understanding all facets of education

Throughout our 50 years, Chernoff Newman has helped education and workforce development clients across the Southeast thrive. From K-12 to higher education and the technical college system, our expertise is unparalleled. If you have a need that revolves around communicating to educational stakeholders, fill out this form and we will be in touch to see how we can help you.

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