VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Two Hampton Roads school districts are receiving grants to expand their respective meal programs.
No Kid Hungry, a National Share Our Strength campaign, recently awarded $ 1.6 million in grants to 32 school departments and organizations.
“No Kid Hungry Virginia has given more than $ 4 million in grants across the Commonwealth since March 2020 to provide organizations with the resources they need to feed the communities,” said Sarah Steely, director of No Kid Hungry Virginia. “These could be supplies to safely transport groceries such as cool boxes and packages. It could be the transportation of vehicles and fuel. We’re here to hear what churches need to feed children. “
Steely says all school districts in the Commonwealth went really out of their way to help during the pandemic, especially Hampton Roads, but Suffolk and Virginia Beach public schools stood out.
“They are two great examples of school departments that looked at their existing model and said we want to do more and feed more children and we have the capacity to do so and we just need some support,” she said.
Suffolk Public Schools received a $ 50,000 grant for their Nourishing Our Neighbor mobile pantry, which Steely says was housed at a school but with the grant will be able to come out and have more access to others To have communities.
Virginia Beach received approximately $ 62,000 in grants.
“In Virginia Beach, they applied for funding for a mobile vehicle for their fleet to have more street meals in the coming months and summer to cover as much ground as possible,” she said.
Steely says they will use the money on nutrition education programs as well.
The principal says she was inspired and amazed by what was achieved during the pandemic and that food distribution didn’t stop when the school closed for the summer.
“Every year outside of the pandemic, summer is often the hungriest time of year for children with free and discounted meals. When the last bell rings, it means freedom from teachers and homework, but it is also a loss of those meals and the children do not know where to get their next meal, ”she said.
The ability to feed Virginia’s children is not only a health problem, but also an economic one, according to Steely. Steely says that one in eight children in the Commonwealth is not getting enough to eat.
And expanding their efforts with school districts and organizations is a lifeline not only for many students, but also for the future of Virginia.
“I literally get goosebumps when I talk about it. These children are the future of Virginia. You are our workforce. When children stay healthy and fed, they can do their best, thrive, and return to school to be active and ready to learn. It’s not just an investment in the children themselves, but in the community. I am so proud of these nutrition departments and organizations that are emerging stronger and working for the future of our children, ”she said.
To learn more about No Kid Hungry or to work with the campaign, click here.