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USDA and N.C. officials kick off Summer Food Service Program in Raleigh

Kids will benefit from nutritious meals this summer

Release Date: June 24, 2009
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – Children at the Healthy Habits Camp in Raleigh had breakfast with grownup guests this morning. The children were joined by Dr. Janey Thornton, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Lanier M. Cansler, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Cansler and Thornton ate with the children to celebrate the Summer Food Service Program, or SFSP.

The SFSP was created by USDA to ensure that children in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. The national program provides a breakfast, snack and lunch to children at participating facilities.

A typical day at the Poe Center for Health Education’s Healthy Habits Camp includes interactive nutrition classes, games, yoga activities, healthy snacks and meals. The camp is one of 35 participating SFSP sites in Wake County.

More than 30 counties across the state participate in the program. In Wake County alone, over 49,000 children are projected to participate in the 2009 SFSP under the leadership of the Child Nutrition Department of Wake County Schools.

“The Summer Food Service Program is an important safety net program for low-income school age children in North Carolina,” said Cansler. “Children participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program count on the meals provided during the school year. These programs do not continue during the summer. Partnership between the SFSP and the Poe Center for Health Education offers an excellent opportunity to incorporate education and experiences in building healthy habits early in life.”

Cansler and Thornton presented a Certificate of Achievement to the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) Child Nutrition Program in recognition for their community outreach efforts to expand the SFSP in Wake County.  “The WCPSS is responsible for a 200 percent increase in the number of children participating in the Summer Food Service Program in Wake County in the past five years,” Cansler said.

"Providing nutritious meals to children is our mission," said Marilyn Moody, senior director of WCPSS County Child Nutrition Services.  “We are proud of our success improving access to the SFSP and of our partnership with the Poe Center for Health Education.”

For more information on the SFSP and a county-by-county list of summer feeding sites, see the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Special Nutrition Programs Web site at www.nutritionnc.com or call the N.C. CARE-LINE at 1-800-662-7030 (TTY: 1-877-452-2514).