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Hundreds of Food Sites Offer Free Meals to Children Throughout the Summer

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June 14, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Office of Child Nutrition kicked off their Summer Food Service Program today at Spring Hill Elementary in Huntington, WV. As part of the USDA program, hundreds of food sites will offer free healthy meals to children throughout the summer.

The federally funded initiative provides funds to participating agencies which include local boards of education, parks and recreation, colleges and universities, community action agencies, churches and other faith based groups to help feed hungry children when school is out during the summer months.

"It is very important to feed children healthy meals because hunger doesn't take a summer vacation," said Terry Roden with the United States Department of Agriculture. "Our partnership with the Office of Child Nutrition allows us provide funds for summer feeding sites throughout the state. We are focused on increasing the number of feeding sites and outreach to the children that may not have access to meals during the summer.”

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 there were 484 summer sites serving an average of 10,000 meals per day. In total, we were proud to serve more than 382,000 meals,” said West Virginia Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cindy Daniel. “This summer there are 133 agencies participating and nearly 480 feeding sites.”

Individuals can find information on their closest summer feeding sites by calling the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3HUNGRY, visiting www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks or by texting FOOD to 877-877. Resources are also available by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/child-nutrition/sfsp/resources.html.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Communications Office at (304) 558­-2699 or kristin.anderson@k12.wv.us.

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