Child Nutrition
3:44 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Summer Program Brings Free, Nutritious Meals to Children

Summer Food Service Program Kick-Off Celebration at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 2014
Summer Food Service Program Kick-Off Celebration at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 2014
Credit Liz McCormick

During the fall and spring school sessions, thousands of West Virginia schoolchildren are fed both breakfast and lunch as part of the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. But when school is out for the summer, these meals end. This is why the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition started their Summer Food Service Program.

At the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Charleston, twenty-five children attended the first day of this year’s Summer Food Service Program, a program that, according to summer food coordinator, Amy Burner, ensures children eighteen years and under in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer months.

“The program is designed to help families be able to find a summer feeding site," said Burner, "where a child can receive a breakfast and a lunch, or a lunch and a snack, so that the parents don’t have to worry about where that meal is going to be coming from.”

Four of the twenty-five children who attended the celebration, proudly show their participation on the Summer Food Service Program promotional brochures.
Four of the twenty-five children who attended the celebration, proudly show their participation on the Summer Food Service Program promotional brochures.
Credit Liz McCormick

Feeding sites can include schools, churches, pools, parks, housing complexes, and summer camps, but Burner says that just about anywhere could be a summer feeding site, and she hopes the program keeps expanding.

The kick-off celebration featured three guest speakers, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Reverend James Patterson, and Diana Limbacher, a representative from the United States Department of Agriculture.