Summer Nutrition Programs

When school lets out, millions of low-income children lose access to the school breakfasts, lunches, and afterschool snacks they receive during the regular school year. The Summer Nutrition Programs help fill this gap by providing free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise go hungry. 

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SFSP is administered at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (FNS). FNS decides overall program policy and publishes regulations and payment rates. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Division administers the SFSP in North Carolina.  

The School Nutrition Division approves sponsor applications, conducts training of sponsors, monitors SFSP operations, and processes program payments. Sponsors sign agreements with the School Nutrition Division to run the program. 

SFSP reimburses approved sponsors for serving meals that meet federal nutritional guidelines. Sponsors receive payments from USDA, through the School Nutrition Division, based on the number of meals they serve. All meals are served free to eligible children.  

The School Nutrition Division accepts prospective sponsor applications for the upcoming summer through March 1.  

To apply to become a NC Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsor beginning November 1: 

  • Review the SFSP Fact Sheet for additional information about administering this federal program. 
  • Want to become a sponsor?  Complete the SFSP Pre-Screening Tool to see if your organization is eligible to sponsor the SFSP.  Upon completion of the SFSP Pre-Screening Tool, a Summer Nutrition Consultant will contact your organization to discuss the next steps. 

To become a site or physical location where children receiving and consume meals in a supervised setting, contact us at

Sponsors are organizations that manage SFSP meal sites. As a sponsor, you will: 

  • Attend your state agency's training 
  • Locate and recruit eligible sites 
  • Hire, train, and supervise staff and volunteers 
  • Arrange for meals to be prepared or delivered 
  • Monitor your sites 
  • Prepare claims for reimbursement 

Ensure that your summer food project and sites are sustainable through community partnerships, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment. 

Sponsors must be organizations that are fully capable of managing a food service program. To be a sponsor, you must follow regulations and be responsible, financially, and administratively, for running your program. 

The following types of organizations can be sponsors: 

  • Public or private nonprofit schools 
  • Units of local, municipal, county, tribal, or state government 
  • Private nonprofit organizations 
  • Public or private nonprofit camps 
  • Public or private nonprofit universities or colleges. 

A site is the physical location, approved by School Nutrition, where SFSP meals are served and eaten during a supervised time.  

Meal service sites may be in a variety of settings, including schools, recreation centers, playgrounds, parks, churches, community centers, day camps, residential summer camps, housing projects, and migrant centers, or on Indian reservations. 

Organizations that do not have the financial or administrative ability to run the program and located in eligible areas, but they can supervise a food service for children, along with recreational or enrichment activities, is eligible to become a site.  Site supervisors will: 

  • Attend your sponsor's training 
  • Supervise activities and meal service at your site 
  • Manage volunteers 
  • Distribute meals by following SFSP guidelines 
  • Keep daily records of meals served 
  • Store food appropriately 
  • Keep the site clean and sanitary 

Help your sponsor promote the program in the community. 

The Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program is a federally assisted Program that is designed to encourage more School Food Authorities (SFAs) to provide meals during summer and other school vacation periods. School Food Authorities includes Traditional Public Schools, Charters Schools and Nonpublic currently participating in the National School Lunch/School Breakfast program.  This option combines features of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SSO reduces paperwork and administrative burden making it easier for SFAs to provide meals to children in low-income areas during the traditional summer vacation periods and, for year-round schools, school vacation periods longer than 10 school days.  

Steps to Participate in the SSO Program 


STEP 1    Complete and submit STATEMENT OF INTENT 

School Food Authorities that plan to participate in the Seamless Summer Option Program must complete and submit a SSO Statement of Intent to the state agency.  

This form: 

  • is for SFAs only;  
  • Requires signature of Superintendent; 

STEP 2    Complete and Submit SITE APPLICATION(S) 

IMPORTANT NOTE: All sponsors must be fully approved to participate in the SSO Program to claim meals for reimbursement. Sponsors WILL NOT be reimbursed for meals served prior to full approval to participate in the SSO program. 

  • Submit a site application for each location meal will be provided to children 
  • Ensure NCDPI approval prior to operating at any site  

STEP 3    Attend SSO Required Continuing Education for School Food Authorities 

The Seamless Summer Option program, new and returning SSO School Food Authorities, are required to complete the Required Annual Continuing Education (RACE).  NCDPI will provide webinars as an overview of training requirements.  RACE must be completed prior to submitting site applications for the SSO. 

2023 Summer Nutrition Policy Memos

6/13/2023          SEBT02-2023_Early-Guidance-Memo-for-ITOs_os   Initial Guidance for Implementation of Summer EBT in 2024 by Indian Tribal Organizations Administering WIC               

6/12/2023          SFSP10-2023_Single-Application-Guidance_os     Best Practices for Streamlining Applications for Year-Round        

6/7/2023            SEBT01-2023os      Initial Guidance for State Implementation of Summer EBT in 2024              

5/31/2023          SFSP09-2023os      Approved Levels of Meals for Vended Sites in the Summer Food Service

5/30/2023          SFSP10-2023os      Initial Site Visits in the Summer Food Service Program                      

5/25/2023          SFSP08-2023os      SFSP Site Selection Criteria for Monitoring Reviews                            

4/20/2023          SFSP07-2023    Questions and Answers #2: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas                     

4/6/2023            SFSP 06-2023 Appendix X      SFSP 06-2023 Onsite vs Offsite Monitoring Chart SFSP      

4/6/2023            SFSP 06-2023 os      Oversight and Monitoring of the Summer Food Service Program - Guidance on On-site and Off-site Strategies and Options

4/3/2023            SFSP05-2023_os      SFSP Best Practices for Meal Claim Verification and Ensuring Properly Payable Claims                   

3/20/2023          SFSP 04-2023_os    Unique Entity Identifier Transition                             

3/7/2023            SFSP 03-2023     Guidance on Performance Standards, Budgets, and Management Plans in the Summer Food Service Program    

3/6/2023           SFSP 01-2023     SFSP Non-Congregate Guidance Memo_Revised_os     Implementation Guidance: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas - Revised

3/3/2023           SFSP 02-2023os     Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023: Effect on Child Nutrition Programs

2/28/2023         Summer Bulk Meals     Implementation Guidance: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas


SFSP Previous School Year Policy Memos

To find the sites neatest you
Text: FOOD to 304-304
Provide your full address, zip code or city.

NC Site Finder Map 

The NC Site Finder Map is for families and the general public to find free nutritious meals for children in North Carolina. The map will be updated at least weekly during the traditional summer operating months (June - August). 

NC Capacity Builder Map 

The NC Capacity Builder is for current and potential Summer Nutrition Program sponsors to use to take a deep dive into where we are currently serving nutritious summer meals, and where there is room for growth. 

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

   1.  mail:
        U.S. Department of Agriculture
        Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
        1400 Independence Avenue, SW
        Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

  2.  fax: 
       (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or

  3.  email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.