Summer Food

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer.

WVDE officials believe when school is out, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.

County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which ensures children (ages 18 and under) in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs that are available to them during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program, WVDE officials reported.

Feeding sites often include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine said with most schools out during the summer, it is vitally important that community partners and organizations participate in the SFSP to ensure no child goes hungry.

“Providing consistent, quality nutrition throughout the summer helps children return to the classroom ready to learn and succeed,” Paine said.

In West Virginia, 198,435 school children (about 76 percent) depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 18,000 receive the free meals provided by the SFSP.

“In 2019, 537 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2020,” said Amanda Harrison, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “New organizations in communities all across the Mountain State are invited to join so that more children have access to healthy meals than ever before.”

Organizations interested in becoming a 2020 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition at cboehm@k12.wv.us or snsuffer@k12.wv.us or by calling 304-558-3396.

Summer sites will be announced in June.

Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jhatfieldRH

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