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Children and Seniors Come Together to Improve Health and Nutrition

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August 05, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.VA. - Children and seniors came together today to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). To help improve health and nutrition during the summer months, children and seniors enjoyed a healthy lunch at the Jefferson County Council on Aging in Ranson, WV. The intergenerational lunch was part of the summer feeding program which provides children who rely on school breakfast and lunch for their source of meals during the school year with an opportunity to have nutritious meals when school is not in session.

Sen. John Unger (D-Jefferson) greeted local children at the senior facility as they connected with senior citizens to help demonstrate the importance of older adults in the lives of children. Engaging older adults in summer meal programs creates opportunities to improve health and nutrition, prevent isolation of older adults and develop children’s social and leadership skills.

"Visiting the community is eye opening and you realize just how much is needed when considering nutrition for our children,” said Unger. “Fortunately there are a lot of people willing to volunteer to be part of this model intergenerational program that feeds children and seniors. It is all part of our statewide effort to implement WV Feed to Achieve.”

An average of 173,000 West Virginia schoolchildren depend on free and reduced-price meals at school and have access to school meals throughout the school year as part of the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. However, those meals end when school is out for the summer months. The SFSP ensures that children in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during summer break.

“Last year 420 summer sites served an average of 12,000 meals per day. In all, we were proud to serve 552,912 meals. This summer there are 136 agencies participating and over 484 feeding sites,” said Rick Goff, Executive Director of the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition. “The Jefferson County Council on Aging provides a unique approach to feeding children and seniors together.”

Individuals can find information on their closest summer feeding sites by calling the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3HUNGRY, by texting FOOD to 877-877 or by visiting www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is a proud sponsor of the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

For more information contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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