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. 

Have Questions?  Need Assistance?  Contact us at:


SFSP - How Does SFSP Work?  

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.  

SFSP - How to Apply  

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


What is the Role of a Sponsor?

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. 

Who Can Be a Sponsor? 

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. 

Who Can Become a Site? 

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. 


SFSP – Federal Regulation & Guidance  


Tab/Accordion Items

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. 

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.