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Gov. Perdue Urges More Sponsors to Help Provide Summer Meals for Kids

 

For release: Immediate    January 27, 2012
Contact: Mark Van Sciver, 919-707-5059

RALEIGH—More than one in four children in North Carolina are not getting enough food to eat to lead healthy, active lives, according to the study, Food Hardship in America 2010. With the leadership of Governor Bev Perdue, a public-private partnership is working to connect more eligible low-income children to federally funded food and nutrition programs like the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), administered by the N.C. Division of Public Health.

In summer 2011, the summer food program provided free meals to an average of 74,554 children each day. Another 16,561 were fed on average each day by a similar program administered by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. However, the combined numbers only represent 12 percent of the children in our state who are eligible for meals. According to public school data, more than 770,000 children received free or reduced price school meals during the last school year. Gov. Perdue is encouraging more community organizations to to join the fight against childhood hunger by joining No Kid Hungry North Carolina.

“More than 30 counties either serve less than 5 percent of their needy children during the summer or do not offer a summer food program,” said Alice Lenihan, head of the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Nutrition Services Branch. “The program provides sponsors with full federal reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each meal they serve, so there is no reason that children should go hungry during the summer.”

Schools, local government agencies, private nonprofits, and locations where children congregate during the summer, such as parks, swimming pools, and low-income housing complexes can participate as either sponsors or feeding sites. 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.

Participating sponsors will receive free training during March. Summer food service applications should be submitted by May 15. More information is available at www.nutritionnc.com/snp/sfsp.htm. For the training schedule or to find out how to apply to be a sponsor, contact the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Special Nutrition Programs office at (919) 707-5799.

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