Summer Nutrition Sponsors, Sites Win Awards

Raleigh, NC

Several Summer Nutrition Programs that fulfill a critical need in providing nourishment and educational enrichment to children when school is out were recently honored for going above and beyond to serve children. In all, 16 program sponsors and a similar number of program sites received one of five state-level awards.

During the school year, many students rely on meals served through the School Breakfast Program, School Lunch Program, and Afterschool Meals Program. But hunger doesn’t take a summer break. N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs, administered by NCDPI’s School Nutrition Services, 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). These programs may operate in schools, public housing centers, playgrounds, 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. The N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs served more than 4.6 million meals last summer to children and teens at nearly 3,000 locations across the state.

“It takes school and community partners working together to address childhood hunger,” said Cynthia Ervin, manager of Summer Nutrition Programs with NCDPI. “The sponsors and sites honored with these awards recognize the crucial need they fill and have truly gone above and beyond to ensure children are well-nourished, ready-to-learn and on the path to success.”

School Nutrition Services developed five state-level awards to recognize program sponsors and sites for implementing innovative and creative changes to expand their Summer Nutrition Programs:

  • The Rising Star Award recognizes superior first-year N.C. Summer Nutrition Program sponsors that include a menu that promotes a healthy lifestyle and sustainable participation or partnerships. They provide fresh, locally produced menu items, at least one hot meal per week, whole fruit three times per week, water at no cost, and only low-fat or fat-free dairy products. They do not offer any sweet grain treats, such as desserts but instead focus on and promote healthy choices.

Rising Star Award recipients for 2019 include Beaufort County Schools and Duke Raleigh Hospital (Wake County).

  • The Going the Distance in Innovation Award recognizes returning sponsors that implement innovative concepts and marketing strategies in their summer programs to increase participation.

Going the Distance in Innovation Award recipients for 2019 include Avery County Schools, Baptist Grove Church (Wake County), Bertie County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Stokes County Schools and Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.

  • The Superior Site Award recognizes a N.C. Summer Nutrition Program sponsor or site for going above and beyond to gain and maintain participation from local children and the community.

Superior Site Award recipients for 2019 include:

  • Baptist Grove Church (Wake County)
  • Caught Before Fallen in partnership with Wilson County Schools
  • Granite Road Center in partnership with Mount Airy Schools (Surry County)
  • Herb Watts Park in partnership with YMCA of Western North Carolina and Asheville City Schools (Buncombe County)
  • Liberty Drive Elementary in partnership with Thomasville City Schools (Davidson County)
  • Mustard Seed Project in partnership with Durham Public Schools
  • Oakdale Elementary in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools
  • Rocky Mount K&W in partnership with Cape Fear Tutoring (Nash County)
  • Roxboro Housing Authority in partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (Wayne County)
  • Thomasville Middle School in partnership with Thomasville City Schools
  • Three in One Family in partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (Wayne County)
  • Village at Greenfield in partnership with New Hanover County Schools
  • Washington Christian Academy in partnership with Washington Outreach Ministry (Cleveland County)
  • Lincoln Heights Recreation Corporation in partnership with Wilkes County Schools – Notable Mention
  • Northeast Elementary in partnership with Lenoir County Public Schools – Notable Mention
  • Thomasville High in partnership with Thomasville City Schools -  Notable Mention.
  • The Farm-to-Summer Award recognizes N.C. Summer Nutrition Program sponsors for going above and beyond to procure and incorporate local foods into meals and snacks and to offer educational enrichment activities centered on local food and agriculture. 

Farm-to-Summer Award recipients for 2019 include the Brigade Boys and Girls Club (New Hanover County) and the YMCA of Western N.C. (Buncombe County).

  • The Turnip the Beet Award recognizes N.C. Summer Nutrition Program sponsors that work hard to provide nutrition education, conduct taste tests with children (incorporating feedback into menus), and offer high quality meals that are appealing, culturally-appropriate, nutritious, and include local foods, a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Three Turnip the Beet Award levels are available: bronze, silver, and gold.

Turnip the Beet Award recipients for 2019 include:

  • Baptist Grove Church (Wake County) - Bronze
  • Beaufort County Schools - Bronze
  • Brigade Boys and Girls Club (New Hanover County) - Silver
  • The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University (Forsyth County) - Silver
  • Duke Raleigh Hospital (Wake County) - Silver
  • Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (Beaufort County) - Bronze
  • N.C. A&T Upward Bound Program (Guilford County) - Silver
  • New Hanover County Schools - Bronze
  • Washington Outreach Ministry (Cleveland County) - Silver
  • Wilson County Schools - Silver
  • YMCA of Western N.C. (Buncombe County) - Silver

All Summer Nutrition Program sponsors are encouraged to consider applying to the North Carolina awards as applicable. Sponsors may be self-nominated or nominated by a third party such as a community partner.

Additional information regarding the state-level awards and N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs can be found on the NCDPI, School Nutrition Services website. Agencies or organizations interested in providing nutritious meals for children during the summer by becoming a 2020 Summer Nutrition Program sponsor should complete the SFSP Pre-Screening Tool. Upon completion of the pre-screening tool, a Summer Nutrition Program consultant will be in contact.

The NCDPI, School Nutrition Services Section administers Summer Nutrition Programs with federal funding assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For questions regarding N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs, contact NCDPI Summer Nutrition Programs Manager Cynthia Ervin.

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) available online 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:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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