NC Newsline - The N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is calling on schools and community organizations to sponsor Summer Nutrition Programs that provide meals and snacks to needy students when school is out of session.
More than 1 million students in North Carolina rely on the meals from the school breakfast, school lunch and afterschool meals programs during the school year. The summer meals help fill the gap for children 18 and younger who might go hungry without them.
Sponsors are eligible to receive federal reimbursements for qualifying meals provided children.
NCDPI officials said the need for sponsors is particularly great in rural areas, Tribal Territories and areas with a concentration of migrant farm workers who might have difficulty reaching meal sites. A lack of transportation to meal sites is also a barrier for some families.
The department approved 175 sponsors last summer. Sponsors provided 3.9 million meals at 2,492 sites. Meal sites are typically located in economically distressed area to serve the state’s must vulnerable children.
In a statement, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said more sites are needed to provide meals to food-insecure children.
“Participation in Summer Nutrition Programs provides children with critical nutrients for continued growth, development and learning in addition to key educational enrichment while school is out,” Truitt said.
Meal sites may be a located at schools, public housing centers, playgrounds, campus, parks, medical centers faith-based facilities, libraries and other locations. Meals must be provided at no charge.