USDA in Virginia is forging partnerships this summer to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) based program, free, nutritious meals are provided to all kids 18 years old and under at approved sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.
The Food and Nutrition Service’s Summer Food Service Program has found an ally in its fight against childhood hunger with its partnership with USDA Rural Development Multi Family Housing Program to help get the word out about the problem of summer nutrition. With over 270 Multi Family complexes located across Virginia, some of which are in persistent poverty counties, this relationship has the potential to benefit many children statewide. Over 30 kids enjoyed a healthy and nutritious meal at the Sandston Woods Multi Family Housing Apartment Complex on June 25th to kick off the program.
This idea was created through the brainstorming sessions held in Virginia’s StrikeForce gatherings at USDA’s State Office located in Richmond. The Strike Force initiative encourages Federal and Community Based groups to work in concert to improve the living conditions of rural Americans.
Today’s kick off provides an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevalence of child hunger. This summer, USDA has set a goal of feeding 5 million more meals to eligible kids across the country through partnerships with other Federal and State agencies and local organizations.
Research shows a strong indication that poor nutrition during the summer months can set kids up for academic failure once school starts. The Summer Food Service Program is one way USDA is working to make sure that this nation’s most precious resources have access to good nutrition all year round.
For more information on the Summer Food Service Program and to locate a site near you, please visit USDA’s Summer Food Service Program website. You can also call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) and a live operator will tell you where the closest sites serving free, nutritious summer meals are located.