Proper nutrition is vital to the social, cognitive, and physical development of our children. Kids who do not get enough healthy food to eat are more likely struggle in school and are less likely to grow up to be successful and productive citizens.
Millions of children in the United States are growing up without enough food to eat. This is an issue that has long-term repercussions if not addressed now.
Our Child Nutrition Programs
Virginia’s food banks operate several programs designed to fill the nutrition gaps faced by our children. More than 450,000 students rely on free or reduced-price school meals, but still face food insecurity on evenings, weekends, and school breaks. Access barriers have become even greater as schools have shifted to virtual learning during COVID-19. Summer and afterschool meal programs, school-based pantry programs, and weekend food backpack programs are all uniquely tailored to the needs of the community and deploy innovative service models so children have the fuel they need to learn, play, and grow. In 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia granted $3 million in federal funding (TANF) to help the Federation expand and sustain its federal nutrition programs. We were able to expand programming into more than twenty localities for the first time, and in total, our food banks served 173,000 children at 228 distribution sites. The funding also helped us provide nearly two million pounds of staple grocery items, including 589,000 pounds of produce, to the households of low-income children.