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Program provides free meals at child care and adult care centers

Release Date: December 16, 2009
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH — Thousands of children and adults in daycare programs across North Carolina are being fed free, nutritious meals and snacks daily through the federally funded Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

More than 5,000 facilities across North Carolina – including child care centers, family child care homes, after-school programs, Head Start, shelters and adult day care centers – currently participate in the CACFP. In September 2009, approximately 120,000 North Carolina children and adults were fed every day through the program, receiving over 6 million meals – breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks – that month.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS). None of the children or adults at the participating facilities are charged for the food. The program reimburses the facilities for the food they serve.

“Children in CACFP usually receive more nutritious meals than the children in child care settings that do not participate in CACFP,” said Alice Lenihan, head of the N.C. Nutrition Services Branch. “Those children get more nutrients and fewer servings of fats and sweets than the children in non-participating care. In fact, participation in CACFP has been shown to be a major factor in quality care – 87 percent of the family child care homes providing quality child care participate in CACFP.”

For a list of all participating child and adult care centers in North Carolina, or to identify facilities in your community that participate in CACFP, see the N.C. Nutrition Services Branch website at www.nutritionnc.com/snp/cacfp.htm.

In North Carolina, none of the participating centers are permitted to charge separately for meals, although that is allowed in some states. Across the nation, children who are TANF recipients, members of food stamp or FDPIR households, or are Head Start participants are automatically eligible to receive free CACFP meal benefits. Adult participants who are members of food stamp or FDPIR households or who are SSI or Medicaid participants are also automatically eligible to receive the free meals.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, child and adult care facilities participating in CACFP are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call  (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.