Atrium Health to Host Free Summer Meal Program at Two Charlotte-area Hospitals

06.06.2019 Atrium Health University City News | Atrium Health News

 Atrium Health University City and Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly to offer free, nutritious meals to kids in Mecklenburg and Stanly counties

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 6, 2019 – For the second year in a row, Atrium Health is participating in the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program by hosting a ‘Kids Eat Free’ program in partnership with Sodexo at Atrium Health University City to provide free meals to children throughout the summer. Atrium Health is also expanding the program to Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly this year. Both programs will begin Monday, June 10. 

During the school year, many students rely on the nutritious meals served through the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program and Afterschool Meals Program. However, meals are still needed for children during the summer months. Students can choose from a variety of menu offerings in the cafeteria each day, including protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk, to build a balanced, nutritious meal. 

Together, Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly and Stanly County Schools' Central Elementary School will offer the program June through August. Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly will offer lunch Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning June 10 through July 5, and August 5 through August 23. Central Elementary School will offer lunch from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Thursday, from July 8 through August 1. 

“Families relying on schools for a nutritious lunch and breakfast throughout the school year may not have the ability to provide healthy options over the summer months,” said Seth Goldwire, vice president of operations at Carolinas Healthcare System Stanly. “We’re happy to team up with the Stanly County Schools to provide nutritious meals to help the families of our community.”

At Atrium Health University City, children are invited to eat breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the cafeteria, Mondays through Fridays.

“Hunger pains are real and far too numerous with more than 45,000 kids in Mecklenburg County alone facing hunger,” said Elaine Jones RDN, LDN, clinical nutrition manager at Atrium Health University City. “Atrium Health is committed to joining with partners outside our walls to make food available to our youth and keep our community healthy.”

The ‘Kids Eat Free’ program at Atrium Health University City will provide educational enrichment in addition to free breakfast and lunch. Students will enjoy a healthy meal along with:

  • Physical activities and games on Mondays and Fridays provided by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.
  • Access to local, fresh produce for sale, featuring items included in the recipe of the week.
  • Nutrition education provided by Atrium Health.
  • Cooking demonstrations and tastings with Sodexo on Wednesdays. 
  • Free advice from University City physicians as part of Talk with the Doc Wednesdays and other Wellness Wednesday activities. 
  • Literacy and craft activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Last year, Atrium Health provided nearly 3,500 free meals and Elaine Jones was named a No Kid Hungry 2018 Summer Meals Hero winner, recognized for going above and beyond to change the lives of kids in need.

N.C. Summer Nutrition Programs are administered by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Services Section, with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to ensure students do not go hungry when school is not in session by providing a free, nutritious breakfast and lunch for children 18 years and under.

A special kickoff event will be held on Friday, June 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Atrium Health University City, 8800 N. Tryon St. The kickoff event will provide the community the opportunity to experience the summer program, along with arts and crafts and fun, engaging activities.

About Atrium Health
Atrium Health, previously Carolinas HealthCare System, is one of the nation's leading and most innovative healthcare organizations with 50 hospitals and more than 900 care locations, providing a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout the Southeast region. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. Atrium Health works to enhance the overall health and well-being of its communities through high-quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives. To learn more, visit