WVDE seeking help to feed children, provide supervised activities this summer

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 3:58 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities this summer.

When school is out of session during the summer months, 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 provides children under the age of 18 in lower-income areas the opportunity to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer.

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

“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for the development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”

About 75%, or 190,362, school-aged children qualify for free or reduced-priced meals in West Virginia.

Officials said it is vitally important to continue to offer meals in the summer months when children are at the highest risk for food insecurity.

“In 2022, 595 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia, and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2023,” said Director of the Office of Child Nutrition Amanda Harrison. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the Mountain State to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in becoming a 2023 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition or by calling (304) 558-3396.

Summer sites will be announced in June 2023.