NC Partnership for Child Nutrition’s (NCPCN) long-term goal is to create an environment where every student, teacher and administrator eats lunch at school. Providing school meals that meet the expectations of its customers is necessary to create such an environment.
In 2019, NCPCN commissioned the Food Insight Group (FIG) to review best practices for school meal programs across the nation. NCPCN used the National Report on School Meals Best Practices to help inform the avenues in which we can support NC’s Public School Systems to improve school meals.
NCPCN’s objective is to provide support to child nutrition services (CNS) departments across the state, and to be a focal point to gather information and resources from external entities, partner organizations, and the community.
Why NCPCN? Why Now?
By being a community and parent-led organization with a sole mission of improving nutrition for children in NC, NCPCN enables school systems in NC to achieve their goals related to child nutrition and health outcomes.
These goals include:
Combating child health concerns, such as obesity, in NC
Improving student educational outcomes in NC
Decreasing childhood hunger in NC
The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program began as ways to combat childhood health issues nationwide. The programs have been altered through policy changes, impacting their ability to deliver meal services that match the needs of each unique district and school. In addition, there has been a reduction in participation rates among students. These changes have been compounded by the effects of COVID-19 since 2020. Decreased participation, labor shortages, staff turnover, and other factors impact the bottom lines of school meals programs—limiting school district’s ability to meet the needs of kids across NC.
Implementing better practices in NC school cafeterias, along with a focus on the benefits of healthy, enjoyable, and accessible school meals will benefit all students. Increasing participation rates in school meals is a key aspect of implementing these practices.
NCPCN is working to help CNS teams and school districts harness community resources to make these changes. Making school meals more palatable, in addition to more nutritious, will encourage more NC students to eat meals at school.
NCPCN is starting this process in Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS), and has partnered with OIC of Rocky Mount and Alliance for A Healthier Generation (HG) to establish its pilot program in select schools in the district. By taking a holistic approach to childhood health through schools meals, this pilot seeks to deliver measurable results and recommendations for small-scale changes that can be implemented more broadly.
The IRS has recognized NC Partnership for Child Nutrition, Inc. (NCPCN) (EIN: 83-3456892) as a tax-exempt non-profit corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.