N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs mascot, “Ray F. Sun,” and State Superintendent Mark Johnson visited the General Assembly today to share information about summer meals for students. The Department of Public Instruction’s School Nutrition Services section works with local schools and organizations to offer summer nutrition programs, providing children and teens with nutritious meals when school is out.
“The need for healthy meals does not stop when school is out,” Johnson said. “Summer Nutrition Programs help provide children in our state not only with nourishment, but also educational and enrichment activities they need to continue learning and be ready to return to school after the break.”
One in four North Carolina students struggle with not knowing where their next meal will come from. During the school year, many students rely on the nutritious meals served through the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, and Afterschool Meals Program. But hunger doesn’t take a summer break. Last summer, N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs served more than 5.2 million meals to children and teens, but only 12 out of every 100 public school students eligible for the program received these meals.
Raising awareness and working with community stakeholders are key to ensuring all kids who need summer meals can benefit from these vital programs. The student-designed mascot Ray F. Sun is making appearances across the state to help promote the state’s Summer Nutrition Programs. Ray’s middle initial “F” stands for food, fitness and fun – all things offered by Summer Nutrition Programs to ensure students return to school healthy, fit and ready to learn. Members of the North Carolina General Assembly can help not only to spread the word to children and families about these community resources, but also encourage schools and organizations to serve as Summer Nutrition Program sites and citizens to volunteer with these programs.
N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs serve meals at no cost to children and teens, ages 18 and younger, at more than 3,000 locations across the state. To find #NCSummerMeals near you, visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks or call 1.866.348.6479 (English) or 1.877.842.6273 (Spanish). You can also text FOODNC (for English) or COMIDA (for Spanish) to 877-877. It is easy to participate and no sign up is required.
The Summer Nutrition Programs are administered by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Services, using federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).