CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Low income kids across West Virginia don’t have to go hungry this summer. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin helped kick-off the West Virginia Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program on Wednesday at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in downtown Charleston.
School age and preschool children can receive free lunch Monday through Friday at 409 feeding sites around the state.
Edna Green with the Partnership of African-American Churches, one of the groups helping prepare the meals, said it doesn’t get any better than that.
“It’s the community at its best, the community helping itself,” she said.
The program is paid for with federal dollars. However, Green said many local organizations donate food, space and equipment to make it all happen. Then there’s the food preparation, which at the King Center is handled by some young cooks.
“Our high school kids actually do the program. I’ve got high school students over there right now fixing lunches that have to go out today,” said Green.
Gov. Tomblin praised the program and said it allows families with small budgets to make sure their kids get at least one full, healthy meal a day during the summer months when school is out of session.
Green said not only are they trying to fill empty bellies, they are also attempting to expand the children’s taste palates.
“They’re really into the fruits. They’re learning to like the vegetables a little more. Sometimes they’re not into the whole wheat but they’re learning,” explained Green.
To learn more about the Summer Food Service Program or find a feeding site near you, log on to wvde.state.wv.us/ocn-download/Forms/SFSP_SiteMap2014.pdf.