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 4.2 million nutritious meals to students in need,” said South Carolina State Superintendent of Education 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 sponsors and meal sites made it possible for us to reach so many students once again. This year, 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. Last summer, we partnered with a total of 128 Seamless Summer Option and Summer Food Service Program sponsors who operated approximately 2,400 summer meal sites. 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.”

“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 serve free meals to any student 18 years old and younger. Sites can be 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 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.

The Office of Health and Nutrition will host the following informational meetings for individuals or organizations interested in learning more about the Summer Food Service Program:

Thursday, February 7
10:00 am - 12:00 p.m.
S.C. Department of Archives and History (8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC 29223)
RSVP here

Tuesday, February 12
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Newberry County Library (1100 Friend Street, Newberry, SC 29108)
RSVP here

For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, visit our web page or email summerfood@ed.sc.gov.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

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