City of Richmond kicks off summer meals program

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond wants to make sure no kid goes hungry during the summer.

Mayor Levar Stoney and Virginia Frist Lady Dorothy McAuliffe kicked off the city’s summer meal program and partnership with No Kid Hungry Virginia.

The program is organized by the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

During summer break, time away from school can be a struggle for local families.

“The children are not able to eat,” said Raqiyah Waajid, a recreation program coordinator with the city. “The poverty level is so high a lot of kids don’t know where they can go eat and they are starving at home. They are used to getting two square meals every day and at some schools in the city of Richmond they get a third meal or a snack.”

Summer can also be a hard time financially.

“Expenses increase so much in the summer time by having the children home,” Waajid said. “They can go to any of our locations, we have 90. They can pick any and go to any of our locations they are all open.”

Each location will provide a free, healthy meal to any child under the age of 18.

These sites are part of the Summer Food Service Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But as Virginia’s first lady explains, this program is about more than just food.

“We know that summer is a time of learning loss if we don’t keep kids engaged and active in both their minds and their bodies,” said Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.

The food programs will be partnered with local community centers to provide activities for children.

“It’s so important to have that whole approach to making sure kids have a great summer of fun and also learning and growing,” said Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.

The program runs Monday through Friday each week until September when school starts back up.

To find a summer meal site near you text ‘food’ to 877-877 or visit their website.

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