But daycare centers contacted ABC11 when they started having problems getting money for that program.
Ms. Gina's Kidz Academy in south Raleigh was one. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide child care service to parents who must work at all hours of the day and night to raise their families.
"I have kids come in as early as two or three o'clock in the morning and leave 10, 11, 12 o'clock at night. It depends on their parent's schedule. We try to accommodate the parent's schedule," explained operator Gina McAllister,
Since many of the families McAllister serves live below the poverty line, she likes to make sure the children she cares for have at least one good meal a day.
So does the federal government, and that's why McAllister gets reimbursed for a portion of her food costs every month.
In June, the check came a few days late, but she dealt with it. However, when there was no money in July a week after it was due, she became concerned.
"We have to do what we have to do to get food on the table for these kids 'cause we don't have the funding in," she said.
McAllister was relieved to find out Thursday that the checks are in the mail.
The state division of public health, which distributes the federal funds says the change in the fiscal year at the beginning of July often causes delays.
They say this year's delay was extraordinarily long because of fiscal year delays at both the federal and state level, but that all daycare providers should be reimbursed by the end of the week.
Daycare centers say they would rather have the nutrition money late than never, but they say even late is a problem in this economy because it costs them extra money.