HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - With all of Virginia's public K-12 schools closed through the end of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 450,000 children statewide who rely on the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school will be impacted.
No Kid Hungry Virginia encourages families to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food distribution sites organized by school districts and other community organizations.
School divisions, food banks and other community partners across the state have stepped up to make sure kids continue to get the nutrition they need during this crisis, finding new, innovative ways to safely provide meals.
School divisions are offering a variety of food distribution models to help safely connect students with meals, including “Grab and Go” service at schools and food delivery along bus routes.
Hickory Trading Company has free bagged meals at their distribution site, located at 357 Johnstown Road, Chesapeake, for people under 18-years-old. Those meals can be picked up from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“During this pandemic, we need to make sure kids who have been getting meals at school are now getting meals at home,” said Sarah Steely, the senior program manager for No Kid Hungry Virginia. “Vulnerable children are losing the school meals they depend on, and low-income families are struggling with lost wages. One of the most important things people can do right now is spread the word. We need to make sure families know these free meals are available and can be found using the texting line.”
No Kid Hungry organizes the texting line and continues to update the service with new information. Families are also encouraged to visit their school division’s website for meal distribution details.