NEWS RELEASES 2015-16

NEWS RELEASES 2015-16 :: MAY 24, 2016

MEET UP AND EAT UP – SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS

Last year, nearly one million low-income North Carolina public school students and children received meals during the school year, but less than 15 percent received meals or snacks at approved summer meal sites in their neighborhoods.

To help address this critical need, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) School Nutrition Services staff, along with a number of statewide partners, have announced the availability of the Summer Nutrition Programs (Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option) for students across the state. Once the school year ends, nearly 3,000 summer nutrition meals sites will help bridge the school meals gap until the beginning of the new school year.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said these programs are crucial for the hundreds of thousands of North Carolina students who rely on the federal school meals program during the school year. “Too many families across North Carolina are struggling, and we can’t have children going hungry in the summer when programs like this are available. Making families aware and informed of available sites for summer meals is vital to keeping children well-nourished, healthy and ready-to-learn.”

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services provides a Summer Nutrition Programs Site Locator Map, which allows families to identify the nearest site for summer meals, including information about locations, meal types, times and driving directions. If parents don’t have internet access, they may call 1-866-348-6479 (for English) or 1-877-842-6273 (for Spanish) for assistance in site locations.

Additionally, No Kid Hungry NC is sponsoring a text message service that allows parents to text “FoodNC” to 877-877 on their mobile phone and receive the most up-to-date site location information. (Standard text messaging rates apply.)

NCDPI School Nutrition Services Section Chief Lynn Harvey said that over one-fourth (27 percent) of all students are food-insecure and experience hunger during the summer months. “This is a statewide issue, which is why we are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the USDA that enables us to provide summer nutrition meal sites for children in all areas of our state.”

The Summer Nutrition Programs serve nutritious meals to children up to age 18 living in low-income areas (where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for no-cost or reduced price school meals) regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. The program may operate in schools, public housing centers, camps, parks, faith-based facilities, and other sites where students gather during the summer months. Meals are served to eligible children at no cost and registration is not required.

“Proper nutrition promotes optimal growth and development in children therefore playing an important role in improving education outcomes,” said Atkinson. “By supporting programs that provide balanced meals throughout the summer, we are helping to keep North Carolina’s children on the path to academic success.”

The Summer Nutrition Programs are administered by NCDPI using federal funds from USDA. Summer Nutrition Programs span nearly every county in North Carolina. Currently, 52 sponsors have been approved to offer summer meals at 1,092 sites with more sites being added daily. Citizens and organizations interested in more information about getting involved as a site provider or volunteering at a summer meals site, should contact Cynthia Ervin with School Nutrition Services’ Summer Nutrition Programs. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider.

 

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.