News release | The S.C. Department of Education’s Office of Health and Nutrition is offering an excellent opportunity for local government agencies, school districts, faith-based and private nonprofit organizations to provide summer meals to children by becoming a sponsor or a summer meal site for our Summer Meals Program. (Learn how to become a sponsor or site through the link at the bottom of this post.)
“Summertime is a time to play, but it is also a time to remember to eat right. Through our summer meals program, we again provided approximately four million meals to students in need,” said S.C. State Superintendent Molly Spearman.
The program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the South Carolina Department of Education to serve healthy meals to children during the summer months when school is not in session.
In addition to nutritious meals, many of the summer meal sites provide learning enrichment programs and activities that assist with the decrease in the academic slide that are experienced by many students during the summer months.
“We could not have done it without the many partners that joined in with us to serve as sponsors and meal sites,” Spearman said. “As we prepare for this summer’s program, we are looking for more sponsors and meal sites to help us increase the number of children we serve. We are excited about the possibility of expanding collaboration opportunities as we get ready for another successful summer for our children.”
“Summertime brings a break from school, but the need for good nutrition and learning does not take a break,” said Ron Jones, Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition. “Unfortunately, during the summer break many children aren’t receiving the important nutrition assistance normally found in free and reduced price meals that they receive during the school year. This program is designed to fill the nutritional gap experienced by many children during the summer.”
“Although there were millions of meals served to children last year, there are still far too many children that need to be served,” said Jones. “We cannot do it alone, we need more eligible organizations willing to serve as sponsors or sites in their communities.” Sponsors can operate the program and feed students at various sites such as schools, churches, recreation centers, hospital cafeterias, farmer’s markets, community and migrant centers, and other areas in the local community.
Sponsors receive training and support relating to the application process; setting up and operating a successful program; and nutrition education. They also receive technical assistance while the program is operating.