Sponsors Needed to Help Ensure Students Don’t Go Hungry this Summer

Raleigh, NC

Nearly 1 million North Carolina public school students last year were eligible to receive free or reduced-priced school meals through the National School Lunch Program. But only a little more than 100,000 of them received meals during the summer months through the state’s Summer Nutrition Programs.

Consider this: 85 percent of the state’s economically disadvantaged children may have gone hungry last summer. To improve that picture this year, schools and community organizations are needed to serve as sponsors for Summer Nutrition Programs in 2019 to ensure that all eligible children get the nutritious meals they need.

Last summer, 166 sponsoring agencies and 2,906 summer nutrition sites served meals to children as sponsors in NC’s Summer Nutrition Programs. This is a good start, but the need for summer nutrition sponsoring agencies and sites is at an all-time high. One child struggling with hunger is one too many.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said that hunger shouldn’t get in the way of a happy summer for any student.

“Summer break should be an enjoyable time for students,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, that may not be the case for many students because they may be hungry and unaware of Summer Nutrition Programs that could provide them with nutritious, appealing meals.”

The Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option were established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure economically disadvantaged children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out of session.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) administers these programs. The department works with public school districts, charter and non-public schools, and public and private non-profit organizations to participate as program sponsors that enables them to receive federal reimbursement for all qualifying meals served to children.

The core purpose of these programs is to bridge the gap of food insecurity for children eligible for free or reduced-priced school meals at an approved site. A site may be a location where meals are served in a supervised setting and open to all children in the community or one that serves specific children at a summer camp. Meals served at all sites must be provided at no charge to eligible children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

To learn how your organization may become involved in providing summer meals to children in your community, please visit the Summer Nutrition Program website or contact the NCDPI Summer School Nutrition Program Manager Cynthia Ervin or 919.807.3505.


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800.877.8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866.632.9992. Submit your completed form or letter 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: 202.690.7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution 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.

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