Charlotte’s Summer Meals Program Offers Free Food and Fun for Kids


Many students rely on the nutritious meals served during the school year through the School Breakfast Program, School Lunch Program, and Afterschool Meals Program. But hunger doesn’t take a summer break. Nearly 1 million children in North Carolina struggle with hunger when school is out.

N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs ensure economically disadvantaged children up to age 18 continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out of session. Summer Nutrition Programs operate in low-income areas (where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for no-cost or reduced-price school meals) and can be found in schools, public housing centers, playgrounds, camps, parks, medical centers, faith-based facilities, libraries and other places where students gather during the summer months. Meals are served to eligible children at no cost. Registration and ID are not required.

North Carolina’s Summer Nutrition Programs served more than 100,000 children per day last year statewide.

Summer Nutrition Programs also help provide educational enrichment. To find out about activities offered by Summer Nutrition Programs near you, search #NCSummerMeals on social media. Mascot Ray F. Sun will be visiting sites across the state this summer to help promote the food, fitness and fun that N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs offer. Follow @Ray4NCKids on social media to learn where Ray will be next.

N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs are administered by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, School Operations Division, with federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Last summer, NCDPI worked with 166 local sponsoring agencies to offer Summer Nutrition Programs at 2,906 sites across the state.

For this summer, NCDPI has already enrolled 74 sponsors serving 2,042 sites. Enrollment is in full swing and NCDPI anticipates 170-plus sponsors serving more than 3,000 sites in 98 North Carolina counties. To find a summer meals site near you:

  • Text “FoodNC” to 877-877,
  • Call toll-free 1.866.3Hungry (1.866.348.6479) or 1.877.8Hambre (1.877.842.6273), or
  • Visit the USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder,

Additional information regarding N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs can be found on the NCDPI, School Nutrition Services website. Citizens and organizations interested in getting involved as a sponsor, site, activity provider or volunteer should contact NCDPI Summer Nutrition Programs Manager Cynthia Ervin.