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N.C. summer nutrition program sponsors win national honors

The following is a press release from NC Public Schools

Ten North Carolina Summer Nutrition Program sponsors are among 118 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. North Carolina has the most 2019 Turnip the Beet awardees of any state in the Southeast.

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

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) launched Turnip the Beet in 2016 and the program entered its fourth year in 2019. This award recognizes the Summer Meal Programs’ sponsors who are working hard to serve nutritious and appealing meals during the summer when children are out of school. We are happy to announce that ten sponsors in North Carolina have been selected as awardees:

  • Brigade Boys and Girls Club, Wilmington – Silver Award
  • Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem – Silver Award
  • Carolina HealthCare System University, Charlotte – Silver Award
  • GrowthQuest, Charlotte – Silver Award
  • Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian, Cary – Silver Award
  • Whiteville City Schools, Whiteville – Silver Award
  • Alamance Burlington School System, Burlington – Bronze Award
  • Buncombe County Schools, Asheville – Bronze Award
  • Wilson County Schools, Wilson – Bronze Award
  • YMCA of Western North Carolina, Asheville – Bronze Award

Cynthia Ervin, Summer Nutrition Programs manager with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said the state’s Summer Nutrition Program sponsors go above and beyond to ensure that children don’t go hungry when school is not in session.

“It’s exciting to see 10 of our program sponsors’ efforts recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the Turnip the Beet award,” Ervin said. “They strive to reach as many children as possible who are in need, offer meals that are nutritious and appealing to children, and provide engaging educational enrichment.”

States volunteer to participate in the recognition program, and all Summer Nutrition Program sponsors were eligible to apply. Contenders were evaluated on a number of criteria, including serving local foods, variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and culturally appropriate meals. Winning sponsors demonstrated excellence in providing fresh fruit daily, serving a variety of whole grains, conducting taste tests with the children (and incorporating the feedback into menus), and offering nutrition education activities.

All winners will receive a certificate and be featured in USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Newsletter. Silver award winners will be highlighted in a USDA blog post.

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, age 18 and younger, at almost 3,000 locations across the state. When school is out, N.C. 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. To find a summer meals site nearby:

  • 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,

The NCDPI School Nutrition Services Section administers Summer Nutrition Programs 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 N.C. School Nutrition Programs can be found on the School Nutrition Services website.


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) available online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

* mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

* fax: (202) 690-7442; or

* email.


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