Key Facts about School Meals in North Carolina
- Schools must offer a serving each of a meat or meat alternative, a grain, a vegetable, a fruit, and milk. Children must select three items, and one must be a fruit or a vegetable.
- As of December 2017, 869,954 children ate school lunch in North Carolina – the seventh largest school nutrition program in the country.
- In 2017, preliminary data shows the National School Lunch Program made payments totaling $387,928,245 to North Carolina.
- Statewide 59.82% of children in North Carolina public schools were eligible for free or reduced priced lunches.
- Kids who qualify for free or reduced price meals get about 50% of their calories from school meals.
School Meal Challenge
North Carolina PTA created School Meal Challenge events to educate parents and community members on the current realities of school meals. In April 2018 we commenced the first event with four Raleigh-based chefs. We provided them with a $2.00 budget and the nutritional guidelines and asked them to create a nutritious, tasty, and compliant meal that could be replicated by school nutrition directors. Learn more about this event here.
Our second School Meal Challenge event took place on September 25, 2019 in Greensboro. We were excited to welcome state and community leaders as we move the discussion forward on school meal nutrition. Check out our video from the event!
Hosting a School Meal Challenge Event
School Meal Challenge in the News
- Greensboro School Meal Challenge Press Release
- IndyWeek: Local Chefs Like Mandolin’s Sean Fowler Help Rethink School Nutrition and Move Meal-Funding Bills to the Front Burner
- Philanthropy Journal News: Investing in Healthy School Meals
- Cary Magazine: Fundraiser Stars Chef-styled School Lunches