Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities this summer. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps to bridge the hunger gap for thousands of children. When school is out of session during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.
County boards of education, local government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations can participate SFSP, which ensures children ages 18 and under in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs available during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. Feeding sites often include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes, and summer camps.
“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things we can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” said State Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for the development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”
According to state-level data, an average of 204,555 children in West Virginia—about 82% of school children—depend on free and reduced-price meals at school. This is why it is vitally important to continue to offer meals in the summer months when children are at the highest risk for food insecurity.
“In 2023, 563 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia, and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2024,” said Amanda Harrison, Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the Mountain State to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”
Organizations interested in becoming a 2024 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm at email@example.com or Samantha Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Office of Child Nutrition at (304) 558-3396. Summer sites will be announced in June 2024.
For media inquiries, contact Christy Day at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 or email@example.com.