No Kid Hungry VA making sure kids are fed amid summer months and coronavirus pandemic


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — For many kids, school means getting at least one meal during the course of the day. When summer rolls around, a nonprofit steps in to make sure kids don’t go hungry.

With coronavirus in the community, they want to increase awareness of their programs.

According to No Kid Hungry VA, more than 450,000 students use a free or reduced lunch program at school, which ends during the summer months.

“We know that summer can be one of the hungriest times of the year for our students, particularly our students who rely on free and reduced lunch during the school year,” said Sarah Steely, associate director of No Kid Hungry VA.

For the last few years, the nonprofit has used a text message line to direct people to nearby meal distribution sites. This year, they activated it early in mid-March to help with the pandemic response.

“There are so many other things that are uncertain and confusing and difficult right now, we don’t want food availability to be one of those things and that’s why we have the texting line to make sure that kids and families can find out how to get meals near them,” Steely said.

The Southside Boys and Girls Club in the Berkley section of Norfolk is a meal distribution site that works with the local food bank and No Kid Hungry VA. They provide kids and teens with breakfast, lunch and a backpack full of food during the summer months.

“When they leave here, we want to make sure that they have something to munch on,” said Tiffani Brown, director of operations at the Southside Boys and Girls Club. “With COVID, parents losing their jobs, you know, there’s so much uncertainly going on right now. We definitely want to be able to alleviate that worry if we can, outside of making sure that the kids are safe.”

To find a meal site near you, text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877. There is also an interactive map, where you can find meal sites based on zip code.

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