NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The coronavirus pandemic has increased food insecurity tremendously, according to No Kid Hungry Virginia.
Many students are still learning from home, meaning it’s not always easy to get the usual school lunch, and many parents may still be out of work.
No Kid Hungry Virginia is giving Norfolk Public Schools $200,000 to help strengthen the school division’s child nutrition programs. The nonprofit believes it’s crucial to make sure every child in our community is fed.
“There’s just an unprecedented number of kids facing food insecurity this year,” said No Kid Hungry Virginia Associate Director Sarah Steely.
The nonprofit has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to help school divisions and community organizations across the state since March.
Steely said, “Kids in America and kids in Virginia need the fuel the get from school meals to learn and grow and reach their full potential.”
Just this week, the nonprofit announced $200,000 for Norfolk Public Schools.
“They adapted and innovated in real time during this daunting year to make sure that they could take the food out of the cafeteria and get it to kids wherever they were living and learning and playing and growing during this time,” said Steely.
Steely hopes NPS uses the money in a variety of ways, including paying school nutrition staff.
“Our school nutrition staff members are heroes, they are essential workers on the front lines, risking their own health and safety to make sure that our students, our kids, the future of Virginia have the fuel they need to thrive.”
Steely also said the school division is committed to creatively distributing food to kids, which could include a food truck down the road.
She said, “We were really captivated by this concept of not just doing the bare minimum, but looking at every opportunity they have to expand their operation.”
A spokeswoman with Norfolk Public Schools shared this statement:
Norfolk Public Schools Department of School Nutrition is elated and extremely grateful to have received such a generous grant from No Kid Hungry. The money is going to afford NPS’ School Nutrition the opportunity to come up with creative and sustainable ways to provide food beyond the traditional school year, and to even more children in the City.
Norfolk Public Schools
Steely appreciates their efforts to help kids in the community.
“At a time when kids aren’t learning in a classroom, aren’t sticking to their normal routines, that simple thing of having a school lunch can be familiar and help create that sense of normalcy during a difficult time,” Steely said.