CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is looking for organization partnerships to provide children with food and supervised activities in the summer.

The WVDE says the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offers children vital resources when school is out of session, especially in low-income areas. County school districts, local governments and nonprofits can participate in SFSP.

Almost 75% of West Virginia students qualify for free or reduced-cost meals, the WVDE says. It is crucial to ensure those children have food during summer when they are at high risk of food insecurity.

“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer. Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for the development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”

David L. Roach, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools

Through SFSP, children 18 and under in lower-income communities can get free, nutritious meals typically distributed at schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

“In 2022, 595 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia, and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2023. We encourage new organizations in communities all across the Mountain State to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Amanda Harrison, Director of the Office of Child Nutrition

Summer sites will be announced in June 2023, according to the WVDE.

Organizations wanting to participate can email Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition or call (304) 558-3396.

For more information, contact Christy Day at the WVDE Office of Communications by email or phone at (304) 558-2699.