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Summer food program seeks S.C. sponsors

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S.C. government agencies, school districts and private nonprofits are being sought to provide summer meals to children through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program. 

Through a partnership with the S.C. Department of Education, organizations can sponsor meals or become a summer meal site in the Summer Break Cafe program, funded by the USDA and administered by the education department’s Office of Health and Nutrition. 

“When students are on break from school during the summer, their nutrition will continue to be a priority,” Virgie Chamers, the education department’s deputy superintendent of district operations, safety and student wellness, said in a news release. “For the last two summers, due to the impact of COVID-19, there was a significant decrease in the number of non-school community sponsors and sites. Our goal for summer 2022 is to recruit new sponsors in rural counties and to encourage those sponsors who did not operate the previous two years to return.”

Approved sponsors can receive reimbursements for serving meals that meet USDA guidelines to students 18 and younger at program sites, which can include schools, churches, recreation centers, hospitals, farmer’s markets or other community venues. Sponsors receive training and support along with nutrition education. 

USDA waivers and flexibilities allowed Summer Break Cafe sponsors to serve approximately 20.5 million meals from January through August 2021, according to the release.

More information is available on the S.C. Department of Education’s website or by emailing An online informational meeting will be held from 10 a.m. until noon Jan. 26, with participants asked to register by Jan. 21. 


Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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