South Carolina Department of Education Announces Summer Meals Program

Columbia, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Health and Nutrition offers local government agencies, school districts, faith-based and private nonprofit 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.

"It is crucial that our students return from the fun-filled summer months both happy and healthy. Through our summer meals program last year, we provided approximately four million nutritious meals to students in need,” said South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

Many of the summer meal sites go beyond serving nutritious meals and offer learning enrichment programs and activities that assist with the decrease in the academic slide many students experience during the summer months. “Our previous summer meals program’s sponsors and meal sites made it possible for us to reach so many students again. Now we are looking for even more sponsors and meal sites to increase the amount of children we can help as we prepare for the upcoming summer break,” said Spearman.

“Even with students on a break from school, their nutrition is always a priority,” said Ron Jones, Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition. “Unfortunately, children that receive free and reduced price meals during the school year may not be getting the same nutrition assistance during their summer break. Our goal is to grow this program to fill the nutritional gap experience during the summer for as many students in need as possible.”

“We cannot surpass our efforts from last year without the help of more eligible organizations serving as sponsors or meal sites in their community,” said Jones. Sponsors can operate the program and feed students at sites like 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. To learn more about how you can become involved, visit our Web page (http://www.ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/nutrition/usda-summer-food-program) or email summerfood@ed.sc.gov.