West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch announced today that more than 1 million meals have been provided to West Virginia children during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

When Governor Jim Justice announced the school closure last month, he directed that children who depend on school meals must continue to be fed. To that end, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) began working with counties to support their efforts to distribute meals. As the pandemic evolved, so have WVDE and county efforts to support children. Efforts have transitioned from a triage model to a sustainable approach to provide for children’s nutritional and academic needs.

“Over a million meals have now been served to our children during this crisis and that’s incredible,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “For those at the Department of Education, National Guard, the county school offices and individual schools, our restaurants and retailers – everyone that has made this happen, I thank you so much and I know that you are still at it every day. Keeping our children fed and cared for during this pandemic is vitally important.”

“We will continue to feed children during the school closure and also to ensure that our schools remain engaged with students and families,” said Superintendent Burch. “Teaching and caring for children is at the very core of what we do as educators, and our counties and schools continue to step up in amazing ways to meet the needs of children.”

The WVDE has worked with the state National Guard, Department of Agriculture and Division of Tourism to provide nutritional stability for children throughout the state. “The one-million-meal milestone illustrates that even in the face of unprecedented events in the state and around the world, West Virginians will always take care of West Virginians,” said Superintendent Burch.

To continue to meet the nutritional needs of West Virginia’s children, most counties are transitioning to multi-day meal packs that are distributed one or two days each week. For the latest information regarding local food distribution for children, visit https://wvde.us/covid19/feeding-site-information/or call your local county school office.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the state’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

For more information about WVDE COVID-19 resources and support, visit wvde.us/COVID19.