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Office of Health Promotion

Kids Eat Free

The mission of "Kids Eat Free at MUSC" is to optimize health by providing adequate nutrition to children when school is out for summer break.

This USDA sponsored program ensures children have access to nutritious meals when school is not in session by providing breakfast and lunch to children in our cafeterias at no cost to the families or the enterprise.

We are proud to be the first hospital in South Carolina to ever participate in a summer feeding program, serving over 13,000 meals since 2015 in an effort to alleviate hunger in the South Carolina!

Post and Courier article

Live 5 News Story

Introducing a valuable resource for health care organizations looking to engage in the fight against hunger. "Serving Summer Meals in Health Care Institutions: An Implementation Guide"

Food insecurity contributes to the rising cost of health care. Participation in hunger relief programs within health care’s existing infrastructure provides an opportunity to improve population health by increasing access to nutritious meals for those most in need. The purpose of this implementation guide is to provide:

  • Basic information on the impact of food insecurity on health and the cost of health care
  • A brief explanation of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
  • Examples of SFSP in a variety of hospitals and healthcare settings
  • Steps for exploring how SFSP can be implemented in new hospitals and healthcare settings

Complete the SFSP Interest Survey to receive updates to the toolkit and/or information on opportunities to connect and collaborate with other stakeholders.

Also, Feeding America and Humana recently released "Food Insecurity and Health: A Toolkit for Physicians and Health Care Organizations".


Changing What's Possible and Leading the Way. "A Case Study of SFSP in Healthcare: Kids Eat Free at MUSC"

In 2015, Sodexo and MUSC became the first hospital in the Southeast to particate in the USDA’s summer feeding program, and served 2,385 meals. In 2016, the program expanded beyond the cafeterias to include the cafe in the outpatient building and, in total, served over 5,100 meals that summer. Along the way, the Lowcountry Food Bank, I Heart Hungry Kids and Molina Healthcare have become strong partners in the fight against hunger.


Food is Medicine

With help from No Kid Hungry, MUSC, a major hospital in the heart of Charleston, became one of only a handful of hospitals in this country with a free summer meals program for kids struggling with hunger.

Watch our video to learn more about this program:

Kids Eat Free video (opens in a new window)


Growing Communities to Stop Hunger

Over the past 20 years, the Sodexo Stop Hunger Movement has been a leading force in the fight against hunger and has empowered leaders to grow communities across America like this one in Charleston, SC.


Additional Resources

Recorded Webinar (45 minutes): Serving Healthy Summer Meals in Hospitals hosted by the Florida Hospital Association's Hospital Sustainability Coalition (10/12/17)

Recorded Webinar (8 minutes): Serving Free Meals at Hospitals during Summerchild eating a sandwich

Food insecurity contributes to the rising cost of health care yet, despite healthcare institutions’ unique position to participate in federal hunger-relief programs, very few do. The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offers a cost-neutral way to fight hunger while improving the health and quality of life of the people they serve. This brief webinar will introduce SFSP in the healthcare setting, provide resources for learning more about various models and offer steps to get started, using the successful implementation of “Kids Eat Free at MUSC” as a template for other hospitals.

The Hunger Vital Sign™: A New Standard Of Care For Preventive Health

To identify young children living in households at risk for food insecurity, Children’s HealthWatch validated the Hunger Vital Sign™, a 2-question food insecurity screening tool2 based on the US Household Food Security Scale. The Hunger Vital Sign™ measures families’ concerns about and access to food, much the way health care providers check other key vital signs, such as pulse and blood pressure. Healthcare providers, social service providers, community-based outreach workers, teachers, and anyone who works with young children can use the Hunger Vital Sign™ to identify young children and families who may need assistance.

No Kid Hungry’s documentation “Food is Medicine:  A hospital’s story of ending summer hunger in South Carolina”

MUSC News Center article “Kids Eat Free at MUSC offers summer meals to children”

Sodexo Foundation works to ensure that every child in the United States, especially those most at risk, grows up with dependable access to enough nutritious food to enable them to lead a healthy, productive life.

Visit No Kid Hungry to learn more about people working to end hunger for children across the United States and how you can join them.




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