CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — As the pandemic continues into year two, there is a lot that can be learned from it. Students adjusted to virtual learning, and that meant increased hunger without the school cafeteria to depend on during school days.
School nutrition leaders stepped up to make sure those students weren’t going hungry. On Tuesday, they spoke during a virtual roundtable about how they adapted to the pandemic and what they hope to see going forward.
To make sure all children are fed while school is virtual, it takes flexibility, creativity and a lot of manpower. If you ask anyone tasked with this, they will say it is all worth it, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our communities.
“In Virginia, as many as one in five kids may face food insecurity this year, which is a big change from one in eight, prior to the start of the pandemic,” said Sarah Steely, No Kid Hungry Virginia associate director.
The nonprofit hosted Tuesday’s virtual roundtable, which included Chesapeake Public Schools Nutrition Director Larry Wade.
“We’re doing things to try to help parents because we recognize the need to provide the meals,” said Wade.
He says the department has changed its program multiple times over the course of the last year. It includes a food distribution program.
Wade said, “We’re now actually serving breakfast, lunch, supper and snack out of all 45 of our schools on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we’re excited that our parents are learning more about our program.”
To further inform parents, they’ve created SNN, which stands for “school nutrition news.”
“We are completing somewhat of a flyer concept or a newsletter concept that we were using to reach out to our parents to let them know what we’re doing,” said Wade. “That we’re serving meals, where we’re serving them, when we’re serving them.”
Wade says his team is going to “C” their way through, by connecting, collaborating, and championing the cause.
Chip Jones, superintendent of Cumberland County School, and elementary school Principal Clint Mitchell from Fairfax County Public Schools also participated in the discussion.
Steely says providing for kids in need is their top priority.
She said, “Kids can’t be hungry to learn if they’re just hungry, right?”
You can learn more about No Kid Hungry Virginia by clicking here.