Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SFSP is the largest federal resource available for local programs that combine meal time with recreational and educational activities. The West Virginia Department of Education recognizes the need for the program throughout the Mountain State.
“Many of our children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year do not have the energy they need during the summer,” State Schools Superintendent Dr. David Stewart said. “That’s where we come in, by providing nutritious meals and activities to keep kids nourished and engaged.”
Statewide, only 10 percent of the 143,563 children who qualify have access to local Summer Food sites. There were 446 sites across West Virginia in 2001, but only 14,727 children participated.
“Our responsibility to kids doesn’t end when school lets out. Kids who get enough to eat and have safe activities to participate in during the summer are less likely to get into trouble,” Stewart said. “Our summer meals program is a building block in the community for healthy, happy kids who are ready to learn.”
The SFSP for Children is a federally funded program operated nationally by the USDA and administered by the West Virginia Department of Education. Eligible sponsors such as non-profit organizations, schools and local governments serve nutritious meals and snacks free to low-income children during the summer months. Summer programs are located at approved sites that are either in low-income areas or serve a group of children, most of whom come from low income house-holds.
Any agency or school that would like more information should contact the Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition at (304) 558-2709.