5/27/16 Parents can text to find nearest summer lunch site

Parents can text to find nearest summer lunch site
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 5/27/16  
Reprinted with permission.      

   More than half the students in Alamance-Burlington Schools, and across the state, get free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, and many still need help when school is out.

   Finding a place to get free meals for kids over the summer has gotten a little easier.

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services provides a Summer Nutrition Programs site locator map at www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, to help families find sites for free meals for children younger than 18 over the summer.

   Parents also call can 1-866-348-6479 to get locations in English, or 1-877-842-6273 for Spanish. No Kid Hungry NC, a nonprofit working with the state, is also sponsoring a text message service. Parents can text “FoodNC” to 877-877 on their mobile phones and receive the most up-to-date site location information. Standard text messaging rates apply.

   MORE THAN A QUARTER of the state’s children are considered “food insecure,” and less than 15 percent of the 1 million North Carolina kids getting free and reduced-price lunches get meals over the summer through the USDA program, according to NCDPI.

   The percentage of local students getting free and reduced-price lunches has been rising steadily over the past few years and now is about 54 percent of the Alamance-Burlington School System’s roughly 23,000 students. Among those are 8,800 students identified as getting some kind of public assistance.

   That percentage does not include many students in 10 qualifying ABSS schools where all students get free lunches without having to apply.

   More than 2,000 children got meals through the summer program last year.

   ABSS’ Child Nutrition Program supplies the food, but generally food is served through programs like summer camps, apartment community centers, churches and day care centers.

   Sites will be funded only in areas that qualify based on Census or school data showing 50 percent of children qualify for free and reduced lunches, according to USDA. Most of the urban areas of Alamance County qualify, according to a USDA map, and so does much of the area south of Cane Creek and Snow Camp, and the northeast and northwest corners.

   Statewide, 52 sponsors are now approved to offer summer meals at 1,092 sites, and more are being added, according to NCDPI. Those interested in learning about getting involved as site providers or volunteering at summer meals sites can contact Cynthia Ervin with NCDPI School Nutrition Services’ Summer Nutrition Programs at cynthia.ervin@dpi.nc.gov.

SUMMER LUNCH

  • Children receiving free or reduced-price lunches: Alamance County: 55.6 percent in 2011-12, 44.5% in 2007-08 Statewide: 56 percent in 2011-12, 48.4% in 2007-08

    Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • Alamance County sites (so far) for free children’s meals
    1. Hillcrest Elementary, 1714 West Davis St., Burlington
    2. Newlin Elementary, 316 Carden St., Burlington
    3. Eastlawn Elementary, 502 N. Graham-Hopedale Road Burlington
    4. Smith Elementary School, 2235 Delaney Drive, Burlington
    5. Broadview Middle School, 2229 Broadview Drive, Burlington
    6. Andrews Elementary, 2630 Buckingham Road, Burlington
    7. Elon Elementary, 510 E. Haggard Ave., Elon
    8. North Graham Elementary, 1025 Trollinger Road, Graham
    9. South Graham Elementary, 320 Ivey Road, Graham
    10. Haw River Elementary, 701 East Main St., Haw River
    11. Green Level Municipal Parks, 1414 Swann Road, Green Level
    12. Garrett Elementary, 3224 Old Hillsborough Road, Mebane
    13. E M Yoder Elementary, 301 N. Charles St., Mebane
    14. Sylvan Elementary School, 7718 Sylvan Road, Snow Camp

      Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service