The South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Health and Nutrition offers local government agencies, school districts, faith-based and private non-profit organizations an excellent opportunity to provide summer meals to children by becoming a sponsor or a summer meal site for our Summer Meals Program. This 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.
Many of the summer meal sites go beyond serving nutritious meals and offer learning enrichment programs and activities to assist with the decrease in the academic slide many students experience during the summer months.
“It is important that all students return from the summer break happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Unfortunately, some experience hunger and lack access to healthy meals during the summer months. Our summer meals program helps to ensure that any child eighteen and under has access to a nutritious meal while school is not in session,” said South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
“Last summer, we partnered with a total of 125 Seamless Summer Option and Summer Food Service Program sponsors who operated approximately 2,000 summer meal sites. These sponsors and meal sites made it possible for us to serve over 3.4 million nutritious meals. Our goal this year is to continue to grow this program to fill the nutritional gap experienced during the summer for as many students in need as possible,” said Ron Jones, Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition.
Sponsors can operate the program and serve free meals to any student 18 years old and younger. Sponsors can prepare or contract with eligible vendors to prepare reimbursable USDA approved meals that can be served at sites located at schools, churches, recreation centers, hospital cafeterias, farmer’s markets, community and migrant centers, and other areas in the local community.
Sponsors receive training, support and technical assistance before and during the Summer Food Service Program operations.