North Carolina Summer Food Service Program Benefits

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North Carolina Summer Food Service Program

What is this program?

Thousands of children in South Carolina depend on meals at school for the nutrition they need to learn and grow. Their need for good food doesn’t end when school gets out. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) meets this need by offering free meals to these kids during the months they’re on vacation from school.

Purpose of the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program

The purpose of the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is to ensure that children from low-income families have access to nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session. The program is a federally funded initiative that operates at the state level to address the nutritional needs of children and promote their overall well-being. Here are the key purposes of the SFSP in North Carolina:

  • Addressing Child Hunger:
    • The primary goal of the SFSP is to combat hunger among children during the summer break. For many children who rely on school meals during the academic year, the summer months can pose a challenge in terms of accessing nutritious food.
  • Ensuring Nutritional Support:
    • The SFSP provides nutritious meals to children, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks. These meals are designed to meet federal nutritional guidelines, ensuring that participating children receive a well-balanced and nourishing diet.
  • Filling the Nutrition Gap:
    • The program aims to fill the nutrition gap that may exist for children during the summer, especially those from families facing economic hardship. By providing meals, SFSP helps ensure that children continue to receive essential nutrients critical for their growth and development.
  • Promoting Health and Well-Being:
    • Access to nutritious meals is crucial for the health and well-being of children. The SFSP contributes to promoting healthy eating habits and reducing the risk of malnutrition or inadequate nutrition during the summer months.
  • Serving Low-Income Communities:
    • SFSP targets communities with a high percentage of low-income families. By focusing on areas where the need is greatest, the program aims to make a positive impact on the nutritional health of vulnerable children.
  • Increasing Food Security:
    • Food security, defined as access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, is a key focus of the SFSP. By providing meals during the summer, the program contributes to improving food security for children and their families.
  • Supporting Working Families:
    • SFSP eases the financial burden on low-income families by providing free meals for their children during the summer. This support allows families to allocate resources to other essential needs.
  • Community Engagement:
    • The SFSP often involves community organizations, schools, and local government agencies in its implementation. This fosters community engagement and ensures that the program is tailored to the specific needs of each community.
  • Combating Educational Disparities:
    • By addressing nutritional needs, SFSP helps reduce disparities in educational outcomes that can be linked to factors such as hunger and malnutrition. Proper nutrition is crucial for cognitive development and learning.
  • Compliance with Federal Regulations:
    • The SFSP operates in accordance with federal regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This ensures that meals provided meet established nutritional standards and that the program operates with integrity and accountability.

In summary, the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program serves as a vital resource in ensuring that children, particularly those from low-income families, have access to nutritious meals during the summer, promoting their health, well-being, and overall development.

North Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program

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About the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federal program administered by the USDA to ensure that children from low-income families continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer when school is not in session. Here are some general aspects of the SFSP, which may apply to North Carolina:

  • Program Administration: The SFSP is typically administered at the state level by education or other state agencies. In North Carolina, the Department of Public Instruction or a similar agency may oversee the program.
  • Eligibility: The program is designed for children and teens in low-income areas, where at least 50% of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year.
  • Meal Types: SFSP provides free, nutritious meals to children during the summer months. Meals may include breakfast, lunch, and snacks, depending on the specific site and schedule.
  • Site Locations: SFSP sites are often located in areas with a high concentration of children from low-income families. These sites can include schools, community centers, parks, and other accessible locations.
  • Sponsoring Organizations: Various organizations, including schools, local government agencies, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations, can serve as sponsors to operate SFSP sites.
  • Reimbursement: Participating sponsors are reimbursed by the USDA for eligible meals served. This reimbursement helps cover the costs associated with providing free meals.
  • Nutrition Standards: Meals provided through SFSP must meet specific nutrition standards to ensure that children receive well-balanced and healthy food.
  • Community Outreach: SFSP often involves community outreach to raise awareness about the program and to encourage participation among eligible families.
  • Educational and Recreational Activities: Some SFSP sites may incorporate educational or recreational activities to engage children beyond mealtime.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information about the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program, including specific details about eligibility, site locations, and program administration, it is recommended to contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction or visit their official website.

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North Carolina Summer Food Service Program Benefits

The North Carolina Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offers several benefits aimed at addressing the nutritional needs of children during the summer months. These benefits contribute to the overall well-being of participating children and their families. Here are some key advantages of the SFSP:

  • Nutritious Meals:North Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
    • SFSP provides nutritious meals, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks, that adhere to federal nutritional guidelines. These meals are designed to offer a balanced and healthy diet for children.
  • Combatting Hunger:
    • One of the primary benefits is the program’s role in combating hunger among children during the summer break. SFSP ensures that children who may face food insecurity have access to regular and nutritious meals.
  • Improving Health and Nutrition:
    • By offering wholesome meals, SFSP contributes to the improvement of the health and nutrition of participating children. Access to essential nutrients supports growth, development, and overall health.
  • Reducing Malnutrition Risks:
    • SFSP helps reduce the risk of malnutrition, which can be a concern when children do not have access to school meals during the summer. Adequate nutrition is crucial for physical and cognitive development.
  • Supporting Low-Income Families:
    • The program supports low-income families by providing free meals for their children during the summer months. This assistance eases financial strain on families and ensures that children receive the nutrition they need.
  • Promoting Healthy Eating Habits:
    • SFSP promotes healthy eating habits among children by offering meals that align with nutritional guidelines. Exposure to nutritious options during the summer contributes to the development of lifelong healthy habits.
  • Ensuring Equal Access:
    • SFSP aims to ensure equal access to nutritious meals for all children, regardless of economic background. This helps address disparities in access to healthy food options.
  • Community Engagement:
    • SFSP often involves community organizations, schools, and local agencies in its implementation. This fosters community engagement and collaboration to meet the specific needs of each community.
  • Alleviating Educational Disparities:
    • Proper nutrition provided by SFSP helps alleviate educational disparities linked to hunger and malnutrition. Nutrient-rich meals contribute to cognitive development, concentration, and overall learning.
  • Supporting Working Parents:
    • SFSP supports working parents by ensuring that their children have access to nutritious meals during the summer. This can be particularly beneficial for families where parents work during the day.
  • Preventing Summer Learning Loss:
    • By addressing nutritional needs, SFSP contributes to preventing summer learning loss associated with factors like hunger. Proper nutrition supports cognitive function, which is essential for educational success.
  • Compliance with Federal Standards:
    • SFSP operates in compliance with federal standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ensuring that meals provided meet established nutritional guidelines and quality standards.

In summary, the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program delivers multiple benefits, ranging from nutritional support and hunger prevention to community engagement and educational enhancement for participating children and families.

North Carolina National School Breakfast and Lunch Program

Who is eligible for this program?

To be eligible for South Carolina Summer Food Service Program, you must be a resident of South Carolina and 18 years of age or under.

North Carolina Summer Food Service Program Income Limits

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (Per Year)
1$26,973
2$36,482
3$45,991
4$55,500
5$65,009
6$74,518
7$84,027
8$93,536

For households with more than eight people, add $9,509 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

Documents Required for North Carolina Summer Food Service Program


The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in North Carolina typically does not require individual participants to submit specific documents for enrollment. The program is designed to provide meals to children in eligible areas without extensive paperwork from individual families. SFSP is primarily implemented at community sites such as schools, recreation centers, and nonprofit organizations.

However, organizations or sponsors that run SFSP sites may need to provide certain documentation and comply with program regulations. If you are interested in participating in or operating an SFSP site, here are some documents that may be relevant:

  • Site Information:
    • Details about the location and operation of the site, including the address, contact information, and proposed schedule for providing meals.
  • Nonprofit Status (if applicable):
    • If the organization or sponsor is a nonprofit entity, documentation of nonprofit status may be required.
  • Meal Service Plans:
    • Information about the types of meals that will be served, including menus and nutritional information. This helps ensure that meals meet the program’s nutritional standards.
  • Site Monitoring and Recordkeeping Plan:
    • Plans for monitoring the site to ensure compliance with program regulations and recordkeeping procedures for meal counts and other required documentation.
  • Training Records:
    • Documentation of training provided to staff involved in meal service, ensuring that they understand program requirements and food safety guidelines.
  • Application for Participation:
    • Organizations or sponsors interested in operating SFSP sites may need to submit an application for participation, providing information about their capacity to meet program requirements.
  • Site Eligibility Documentation:
    • Documentation establishing that the site is located in an eligible area where a sufficient number of children may benefit from the program.

It’s important to note that individual families seeking to access SFSP meals for their children do not typically need to provide extensive documentation. The program is designed to be accessible and to serve children in communities where the need is identified.

If you are interested in participating in the SFSP as an organization or sponsor, or if you have specific questions about documentation, it is recommended to contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or the local agency responsible for SFSP administration. They can provide detailed information about the application process and any required documentation for sponsors and sites.

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Required Eligibility for the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program

The eligibility requirements for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in North Carolina are generally based on the characteristics of the area or the site where the program operates, as well as the income levels of the children served. Here are key eligibility criteria for different aspects of the SFSP:

  • Eligible Areas: SFSP sites are typically located in areas where at least 50% of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year. These areas are often designated as low-income communities.
  • Eligible Organizations (Sponsors): Various types of organizations can serve as sponsors for SFSP sites. Eligible sponsors include schools, local government agencies, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and other community organizations.
  • Eligible Sites: SFSP sites can include schools, community centers, recreation centers, parks, and other accessible locations where children can gather for meals and potentially participate in other activities.
  • Eligible Participants (Children): Children and teens up to 18 years old are generally eligible to receive free meals through the SFSP. Persons over 18 with mental or physical disabilities and who participate in public or private nonprofit school programs for persons with disabilities may also receive meals.
  • Income Eligibility: While SFSP does not require individual families to demonstrate income eligibility, the eligibility of the area is often determined by the percentage of children in that area who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This is based on census data or other approved methods.
  • Documentation for Enrollment: Families may need to complete enrollment forms, and some sites may request proof of residency in the designated area.

It’s important to note that the SFSP is designed to serve communities with a high concentration of low-income families to ensure that children who rely on school meals during the academic year have access to nutritious meals during the summer break.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on eligibility criteria for the SFSP in North Carolina, including any changes or specific requirements, it is recommended to contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction or the organization serving as the sponsor for the SFSP site in question. They can provide guidance on eligibility and the application process.

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How To Apply For North Carolina Summer Food Service Program


Individual families do not typically need to apply for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) directly. The program is designed to provide free meals to children in eligible areas during the summer months without requiring families to complete individual applications.

However, if you are interested in finding SFSP meal sites in your community, you can follow these steps:

  • Locate SFSP Sites:
    • Visit the website of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or the USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder to locate SFSP sites near you. These sites could include schools, community centers, parks, and other locations where free meals are offered to children during the summer.
  • Check with Local Organizations:
    • Contact local schools, community organizations, and government agencies to inquire about SFSP sites in your area. They can provide information about the locations, meal schedules, and eligibility criteria.
  • Attend Open Meal Sites:
    • SFSP sites often have open meal service times during the summer. Families can visit these sites during the designated hours to receive free meals for their children.
  • Promotional Materials:
    • Look for promotional materials or announcements in your community, such as flyers, posters, or announcements on local websites and social media. These materials often provide details about SFSP sites and their operating schedules.
  • Community Events and Outreach:
    • Attend community events or outreach activities where SFSP information may be shared. Organizations involved in SFSP often engage in community outreach to ensure families are aware of the available services.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or site operator for the SFSP, the process involves working with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or the local agency responsible for SFSP administration. Sponsors are typically organizations, schools, or government agencies that provide meals to children at approved sites. The application process for sponsors may include submitting relevant documentation, plans for meal service, and compliance with program regulations.

For specific information about SFSP sites in your area or details on becoming a sponsor, it is recommended to contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or the local agency responsible for SFSP administration. They can provide guidance on accessing meals or participating in the program as an organization.

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North Carolina Summer Food Service Program Phone Number

Please contact program coordinator Ruth McDowell to ask about North Carolina SFSP at: 919-715-1924. Or send an e-mail to: ruth.mcdowell@ncmail.net.

FAQs. North Carolina Summer Food Service Program Benefits

Q 1. What is the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in North Carolina?

SFSP is a federally funded program that provides free nutritious meals to children in eligible areas during the summer months when school is not in session.

Q 2. Who is eligible to receive meals through the SFSP in North Carolina?

Children and teens up to 18 years old, and in some cases, individuals up to 21 years old, may be eligible to receive free meals at SFSP sites in eligible areas.

Q 3. What are the benefits of the SFSP for families?

The primary benefit is that eligible children receive free, nutritious meals during the summer, helping to combat hunger and ensure they have access to essential nutrients.

Q 4. What types of meals are provided through the SFSP?

SFSP typically provides meals that meet federal nutrition standards, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The meals are designed to be balanced and offer a variety of food groups.

Q 5. Is there any cost for families to participate in the SFSP?

No, there is no cost for families to participate. SFSP meals are provided at no charge to eligible children and teens.

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Q 6. How can families find SFSP sites in their community?

Families can use the USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder or contact local schools, community organizations, and government agencies to find SFSP sites in their area.

Q 7. Do families need to apply for the SFSP, and what documents are required?

Families typically do not need to apply individually. SFSP is designed to be open to all eligible children in participating areas, and individual applications are not required. No specific documents from families are typically needed.

Q 8. Can children with dietary restrictions or allergies participate in the SFSP?

SFSP strives to accommodate dietary needs. Families can communicate with site operators about any specific dietary restrictions or allergies, and efforts are made to provide suitable meal options.

Q 9. Are there educational or recreational activities offered at SFSP sites?

Some SFSP sites may offer educational or recreational activities in addition to meals. Check with individual sites for information on additional programming.

Q 10.How can organizations become sponsors or sites for the SFSP?

Organizations interested in becoming SFSP sponsors or site operators can contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or the local agency responsible for SFSP administration for guidance on the application process.

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