Groups needed for summer food sites

Provide meals to children in low-income areas

PARKERSBURG — Groups are needed to join the West Virginia Department of Education feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer months.

County boards of education, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program which ensures children 18 and under in lower-income areas can continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs available during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. 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,” Michael Martirano, state superintendent of schools, said. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn. “

Sixty-three percent of students, 178,000 in West Virginia, depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 10,000 receive the free meals provided by the summer program.

“In 2016, 485 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2017,” said Amanda Harrison, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the state to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in becoming a 2017 summer sponsor can contact Cybele Boehm with the Office of Child Nutrition at cboehm@k12.wv.us or call (304) 558-2709.

Summer sites will be announced in May.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.

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