The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced this week that, in collaboration with local school systems, more than a million meals are being provided weekly to children in the state.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the West Virginia Division of Tourism, National Guard and Department of Agriculture have worked in partnership with the WVDE under the guidance of Governor Jim Justice to ensure children are not missing meals. As families adjust to the challenges of COVID-19, many children who have not previously required school-provided meals may now need them. Most counties are meeting demand with weekly distribution although a few are providing meals several times each week.
The WVDE continues to provide collective meal support to counties as they have moved from a daily feeding model to a more sustainable weekly delivery system. Local nutrition directors work with the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition to place orders for the meals they need for the upcoming week. Additionally, several counties work with a combination of local vendors, state parks and other agencies and organizations to provide multi-meal boxes for children. These packs include five breakfasts and five lunches along with snacks for the typical school week.
The food distribution operation is unlike anything the state has experienced before as the pandemic further aggravates tenuous situations among the most vulnerable population of the state – children with food insecurity.