Emergency Meals-to-You: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Applications for Emergency Meals-to-You in North Carolina are currently closed. Additional enrollment periods are not guaranteed. Stay tuned to communications from Carolina Hunger Initiative and your local school district for other potential opportunities.

Emergency Meals-to-You (eMTY) provides weekday breakfasts and lunches to students who were receiving those meals through the National School Lunch Program at a free or reduced-price but temporarily cannot receive school meals due to emergency school closures. eMTY mails 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches every two weeks directly to the student’s home while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

The Carolina Hunger Initiative (based at UNC-Chapel Hill) is helping NC families and school districts connect with the program.

Please note: Emergency Meal-to-You is a USDA program conducted by Baylor University, with assistance in North Carolina from the Carolina Hunger Initiative. The NC Department of Public Instruction is not involved in the administration of this program. This relationship is between the parent and the Emergency Meals-to-You program. All questions and follow-up will be directly with Baylor University and the Carolina Hunger Initiative.

What if my student is eligible?

If your family is eligible to get eMTY boxes delivered, your school district will reach out to you with more information and instructions for signing up. If you did not receive communication from your school district, but believe you are eligible for Emergency Meals-to-You, please reach out to your school district.

How do I know if my student is eligible?

A student is eligible for eMTY if s/he is already eligible for free or reduced-price meals and is enrolled at a school that is participating in eMTY. The school district must apply and be accepted into the program before a family can submit an application. In order to serve younger family members who are not yet in school, if one child in the household is eligible, then all children ages 1-18 living in the household can participate.

All students attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) participating schools are eMTY eligible.

Can my child who is homeschooled, attends a charter/private school, or is not yet school-aged participate?

At this time, children in the above categories are only eligible for Emergency Meals-to-You if another child in the same household attends a participating district and qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals.

How do I know if my school district is participating?

Below are the NC school districts participating in Emergency Meals-to-You, but their enrollment period has passed and they are not open for applications at this time:



How long will the program be?

At this time, you can receive food until June 30.

What will we receive?

One box per enrolled child every two weeks for the time period of the student’s school closure. Each box will contain shelf-stable components for 20 meals: 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches. Sample items include:

  • Protein:  Milk, Chicken Salad, Hummus, Beef Stick, Bean Dip, Cheese, Sunflower Kernels,
  • Whole Grains: Tortilla Chips, Corn Chips, Crackers, Oatmeal Bars, Cereal,
  • Vegetables: Salsa Cup, Marinara Cup, 100% Veg/Fruit Juice,
  • Fruit: Applesauce, Raisins, Craisins, Fruit Cup, 100% Fruit Juice.

What if my student has dietary restrictions?

If a child in your household needs a dietary modification, please send an email to info+FoodAllergy@mealstoyou.org and include your phone number in the email. We will reach out to you via phone and will work to modify individual boxes. We can only make modifications that do not fundamentally shift the nature of the program.

Who will deliver the boxes?

We can deliver to your home/a street address with UPS or to a P.O. Box with the U.S. Postal Service, whichever is best for you. We highly recommend that you sign up for UPS My ChoiceUSPS Informed Delivery, or FedEx. All are completely free, and they’ll notify you any time a box is on the way to you.

Some people have received their boxes but mine have not been delivered. What happened?

EMTY shipments are made by district, meaning that all boxes heading to any given school district leave our vendors’ facilities within a few hours’ time. However, that doesn’t correlate with the order or time frame in which UPS or USPS make their deliveries. Among the factors in play:

  • Different parts of the county are likely on different delivery routes, so will not get delivered at the same time or even on the same day,
  • Even if on the same route, once a truck is full (which is typically the case since we are shipping thousands of boxes to the same area), the rest of the boxes are left at the station until the next route comes through. In rural communities, the next route may not be until the next day.
  • UPS and USPS are not on the same delivery schedule, so delivery times will likely be very different depending on the type of address provided.
  • USPS is regularly communicating that COVID-19 is having an impact on their delivery schedules.

My household receives SNAP benefits, can I still get a Meals-to-You Box?

Yes! You can still get MTY boxes delivered if you are receiving SNAP or any other form of assistance. Plus, choosing to get MTY will not affect your eligibility for other assistance programs.

What if I’m not home when my box gets delivered?

Try coordinating with a family member or neighbor to pick up the box for you. Remember, these foods are shelf-stable, so they’ll still be good to eat when you get home!

Is it okay if the boxes sit outside for a few hours if I’m not home when the box is delivered?

All foods in the MTY box are shelf-stable, which means you don’t have to worry about the foods expiring anytime soon. The boxes will be packaged securely, so there shouldn’t be any problems with ants or other tiny pests getting into them. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about getting foods refrigerated immediately.  You’ll need to refrigerate the milk and some other foods once you open them.

The online link isn’t working for me. What do I need to do?

We’re sorry you’re having trouble. First, you might need to check your internet connection. If you have a good connection and still can’t fill out the online form, you can contact your school for assistance.

How do I know if my student was approved/enrolled?

After you have submitted your enrollment form and it is processed, you will get an email from info@mealstoyou.org with the subject line “Meals-to-You: You Can Now Make Changes to Your Account Whenever You Like.” This step will likely not occur until the week of 5/11.

I’m realizing that some of the information I submitted on the enrollment form is incomplete, can I make changes to it?

During the enrollment period, reply to your confirmation email or send a message to CarolinaHungerInitiative@unc.edu to make changes.

After you have submitted your enrollment form and it is processed, you will get an email from info@mealstoyou.org with the subject line “Meals-to-You: You Can Now Make Changes to Your Account Whenever You Like.” This email contains your account edit link. When you click on that link, you should see your enrollment form. Use that link to make changes to your account or add eligible students. Update the information on your enrollment form and then re-submit it. You can only make changes while your school district’s enrollment period is open.

When will the first Meals-to-You box be delivered?

Delivery dates vary by district. We encourage you to verify your address this free tool from UPS. (New and updated addresses may take a few days to verify.) After verifying your address, if you find any part of it is incorrect or needs to be updated, you can do so by using your account edit link you received via email or will receive once your enrollment form is processed. You may also wish to sign up for UPS My ChoiceUSPS Informed Delivery, or FedEx. All are completely free, and they’ll notify you any time a box is on the way to you!

Still not finding the answer you’re looking for? 

Contact us at CarolinaHungerInitiative@unc.edu.