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Este pagina en espanol State seeking more providers for Simplified Summer Food Program for children

Release Date: February 3, 2010
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – Many children who get free or reduced-price meals during the school year are not getting the nutrition they need when school is not in session, state health officials say. They point to a program that can help: the federal Simplified Summer Food Program pays for food for summer programs that operate in low-income areas or serve primarily low-income children. But, not enough providers are currently signed up.

“Only 7 out of every 100 children in North Carolina who receive free or reduced-price breakfasts or lunches during the school year continue to receive meals during the summer months,” said Alice Lenihan, head of the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Nutrition Services Branch. “To bridge this gap, we need more providers to offer this program in their local communities.”

“These children need nutritious meals and snacks for healthy growth and development when school is out so they are better able to continue learning when they return to school,” Lenihan said.

Schools, local government agencies and private non-profits can participate in the program, which provides sponsors with full federal reimbursement for each meal they serve, while helping ensure that children do not go hungry while out of school during the summer.  Other places where children congregate during the summer, such as parks, swimming pools, and low-income housing complexes, can also participate. Participation is easy; it does not require a lot of complicated paperwork, and free training is provided.

To qualify, a site must either be located in a low-income area where 50 percent or more of the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, or it must serve primarily low-income children, at least half of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. 

Most sites can provide up two meals a day through the program.  Camps and sites serving primarily migrant children can provide up to three meals a day, but they qualify under slightly different rules. 

Participating sponsors need to get training in March or April; final applications are due by June 15.

For more about the program, visit the website. For the training schedule or to find out how to apply to be a provider, contact the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Special Nutrition Programs office at (919) 707-5799.



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