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Summer food service for children begins this week

The USDA-funded statewide feeding project provides meals for children age 18 and under from June to August

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Department of Education State Superintendent Molly Spearman as in Columbia to kick off the Summer Break Café, a Summer Food Service Program within the Department of Education provides meals during the summer months for children aged 18 and under. The feeding project is funded by the US Department of Agriculture.

Spearman was at Richland Library North Main branch to read a proclamation from Gov. Henry McMaster declaring the week of June 13 Summer Break Café Awareness Week in South Carolina.

“We are excited to partner with organizations across South Carolina to offer Summer Break Cafés this summer,” said Spearman. “Hunger and malnutrition not only make students more prone to illness and health issues, but can also negatively impact school performance once the semester begins. Summer Break Cafés can help fill the nutritional gap and give students the meals to be happy and healthy.”

In South Carolina, 1 in 6 children don’t know where next meal is coming from. The Summer Break Café is meant to provide a nutritious meal in a safe environment for those children during the months of June, July and August.

"During the summer months it is vital that students have access to nutritious meals,” said Melanie Huggins, executive director, Richland Library. "Providing Summer Break Cafés at three of our Richland Library locations (Edgewood, North Main, and St. Andrews) allows us the opportunity to connect children and their families to good food and high-quality, free educational resources."

Spearman noted there are over 1,000 sites in South Carolina where Department of Education is partnering with local organizations and faith-based groups to feed children during the summer months.

According to South Carolina Department of Education, since 2019, the agency and its sponsors have served over 25 million meals to children.

After Spearman read a book to children in attendance, the children were served pizza for lunch.

For up-to-date information regarding sites and times of operation, explore the USDA Summer Meals Map or text FOOD to 304-304. If interested in becoming a Summer Break Café site or sponsor, please visit www.summerbreakcafe.com

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