CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, thousands of children across the state are at risk of going hungry.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, more than 467,000 children in South Carolina qualify for free or reduced-price meals. State law mandates that all public schools participate in the National School Lunch Program.
To ensure children do not need to worry about where their next meal will come from, Tri-county school districts are offering free meal programs all summer long.
Charleston County School District is working to fill the nutrition gap during summer break with its Seamless Summer Feeding Program (SSFP).
The district reports that roughly half (25,000) of enrolled students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, which is why they offer complimentary breakfast and lunches at locations throughout Charleston County.
Breakfast and homemade hot lunches will be prepared at 10 CCSD school kitchens and cafeterias and distributed to sites in McClellanville, North Charleston, James Island, Johns Island, Hollywood, downtown Charleston, and West Ashley for pickup. Serving and eating utensils, plates, napkins, and condiments will be provided.
Meals are prepared to meet federal meal patterns and nutritional requirements and lunches may include hot entrees such as crispy chicken nuggets, hamburgers, and hotdogs. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat chocolate and white milk are included with every meal.
Any child or teen (18 years old or younger) are eligible for free meals without prior approval.
The program starts June 6 and runs through August 5. Pickup locations will be posted here on June 10.
Berkeley County School District is also offering a free meal service for children 18 years old and younger.
Beginning June 6, BSCD nutrition workers will serve meals every Monday through Thursday at the following locations:
- Philip Simmons Elementary
- Goose Creek Elementary
- Devon Forest Elementary
- Cross Elementary
- St. Stephen Elementary
- Berkeley Middle
- Westview Primary
Breakfast service is from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and includes 1 oz meat or meat alternate, 1 serving of grain, 1/2 cup juice or fruit, and an 8 oz milk.
Lunch service is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and includes 2 oz meat or meat alternate, 1/2 cup vegetable, 1/2 cup fruit, 1 serving grain, and an 8 oz milk.
Hot meals are available at no cost to students, but children must eat at the site.
The program runs through July 28. Click here to see the menus.
Through the Seamless Summer Option Meals Program, Dorchester District Two will provide breakfast and lunch on a first-come, first-served basis to all children 18 years old and younger.
Meals are served Monday through Thursday at the following locations:
- Ashley Ridge High School
- Fort Dorchester High School
- Summerville High School
Breakfast is available from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Each meal contains whole grains, protein, fruit or vegetable, and milk. As with Berkeley County, meals must be eaten at the pickup site.
In addition, DD2 schools conducting summer programs will provide complimentary breakfast and lunch to all program enrolled students.
The free meal program runs from June 6 to July 14.