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N.C. Summer Nutrition Program Sponsors Win National Honors

Thirteen North Carolina Summer Nutrition Program sponsors are among 111 nationwide this year to receive Turnip the Beet awards, given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to recognize outstanding providers who work hard to offer high quality meals that are appetizing, appealing and nutritious. This more than triples the number of awardees from the state compared to 2016, when the award was first given.


Three Turnip the Beet award levels are available: bronze, silver, and gold. Three North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs won gold awards, four won silver, and six won bronze.

Buncombe County Schools – Gold
Kirk of Kildaire – Gold
YMCA of Western North Carolina – Gold
Caldwell County Schools – Silver
Carteret County Schools – Silver
Johnston County Public Schools – Silver
Moore Street Foundation – Silver
Bertie County Schools – Bronze
LMC Children Services, Inc. – Bronze
New Hanover County Schools – Bronze
Wake Forest University – Bronze
Wilson County – Bronze
YMCA of the Triangle – Bronze
Lynn Harvey, chief of School Nutrition Services at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said the state’s Summer Nutrition Program sponsors work hard to ensure that children do not go hungry when school is not in session.


“It’s exciting to see thirteen of our program sponsors’ efforts recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the Turnip the Beet award,” Harvey said. “We know they work hard to provide meals that are nutritious and appealing to children, and to ensure that those who need these meals the most are aware of their availability.”


The Turnip the Beet award showcases sponsors who go above and beyond to ensure their meals are both nutritious and appetizing. States volunteer to participate in the recognition program, and all sponsors participating in the one of programs were eligible to apply. Contenders were evaluated on a number of criteria, including serving local foods, a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and culturally appropriate meals. Winning sponsors demonstrated excellence in such ways as including providing fresh fruit daily, serving a variety of whole grains, conducting taste tests with the children (and incorporating the feedback into the menus), and offering nutrition education activities.


All winners will receive a certificate and be featured in USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Newsletter. Gold and silver award winners will be highlighted in a USDA blog post, and gold awardees will be identified as Turnip the Beet winners on the FNS Capacity Builder website.


Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk of food insecurity increases during the summer months when they don’t have access to the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs serve meals at no cost to children and teens, ages 18 and younger, at almost 3,000 locations across the state. When school is out, North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs work with sponsors, local education agencies and community partners to help feed children and make sure these students are healthy and ready to learn when they return to school.


The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction School Nutrition Services administers the Summer Nutrition Program using federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Citizens and organizations interested in more information about getting involved as a site provider or volunteering at a summer meals site should contact NCDPI Summer Nutrition Programs Manager Cynthia Ervin.


USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers. Additional information regarding North Carolina School Nutrition Programs can be found on the School Nutrition Services website.

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