On Wednesday, July 29, the Nutrition Services Branch of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that it will be participating once again in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The program is meant to ensure that children and adults using care facilities have access to good nutrition.

In Guilford County, the state’s participation means that those who fall below certain minimum income levels will be able to get to free and low-cost meals.

NCDHHS participates annually in the program but, this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s social services workers and Guilford County social services staff are stepping up the effort to make sure that nutritious food is available to all families in need.

This program for children and adults is a federal offering that provides reimbursements for meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who attend qualifying non-residential care facilities including child care centers, family child care homes and adult day care centers.

For a family of four, an annual household income of $34,060 or less qualifies the family members for free meals at eligible venues, while making less than $48,470 qualifies that family member for reduced price meals.

Children who get benefits through food distribution programs like TANF or SNAP, or from the food distribution program offered on Indian reservations – and kids who are Head Start participants, or are homeless or migrants – are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits.

Adults who receive benefits through TANF, SNAP or a plan for Indian reservations – or those who participate in Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid – are automatically eligible for free meal benefits.

The current guidelines are effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

People can learn more about the program at http://www.nutritionnc.com/snp/meal-patterns.htm.