USDA Officials Celebrate Efforts by FeedMore to Ensure Central Virginia Children Have Access to Heal

June 25, 2013

USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon was in Sandston today to highlight FeedMore’s and USDA’s efforts to ensure no child goes hungry in Central Virginia during the summer months.

FeedMore is once again participating in USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. The program began on June 24th and continues through August 30th at approximately 60 sites throughout Central Virginia.

“As many area children look forward to summer, those that struggle with hunger issues may wonder where they will turn to find the breakfast and lunch that they’ve relied on during the school year,” said Conchetta Yonaitis, FeedMore’s children’s program manager. “FeedMore is proud to once again offer a Summer Food Service Program and will provide thousands of meals to at‐risk children ensuring that this region’s children grow and develop with the nutrition they need to be successful when the next school year rolls begins.”

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and other summer feeding programs are designed to make sure children receive the nutritious meals they need during the summer months so they are ready to learn when they return to school in the fall. Concannon joined USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Service Acting Administrator Lillian Salerno and community leaders to visit the community room and playground at Sandston Woods Apartments outside of Richmond. “We’re joining our valued partners to raise awareness about the nutrition gap low‐income children face when schools close for the summer,” Concannon said. “We need more successful partnerships, like the one in Sandston, to ensure children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out.”

Today’s inaugural lunch featured baked chicken, kid‐ friendly vegetables, milk, and whole wheat rolls. After lunch, the children enjoyed playground time and a special musical presentation by the Highland Springs High School Drum Line. Sites like Sandston Woods Apartments are the backbone of the Summer Food Service Program, ensuring that youth have access to healthy meals in a safe, supervised environment.

“Research shows a lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins,” Concannon said. “We must do all we can to ensure that children get nutritious food year‐round so that they are ready to learn during the school year and have a greater chance to succeed.”

Last year, FeedMore’s Summer Food Service Program provided 184,000 meals; approximately 2,300 breakfasts and 2,300 lunches per day and USDA's summer feeding programs provided 161 million summer meals, feeding approximately 3.5 million children nationwide on a typical summer day. In Virginia, the summer feeding programs served approximately 10.9 million meals to children at 1,579 summer feeding sites.

In order to ensure that no child goes hungry this summer, USDA and its partners are redoubling their efforts to reach more children at risk for hunger. USDA efforts include:

  • Issuing a national call to action for schools, community and faith‐based organizations across the country to increase the number of SFSP sponsors and feeding sites to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out.
  • Providing intensive technical assistance to expand the reach of the program in five states with high levels of rural and urban food insecurity and/or reduced program participation, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Rhode Island and Virginia. Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia are also states targeted by USDA's StrikeForce, an initiative designed to improve the quality of life and boost economic growth in high poverty rural areas.
  • Working with individuals, schools and community organizations to help connect families to summer meals. Summer feeding sites are located in many low‐income communities across the country. To find sites in a particular area, call 1‐866‐3‐Hungry or 1‐877‐8‐Hambre (Spanish) or visit the National Hunger Clearinghouse resource directory. In Virginia, parents and children can call 2‐1‐1 for more information about the program.

USDA continues working with First Lady Michelle Obama on the Let's Move! initiative, which is helping to promote healthy eating and physical activity while supporting the health of American families. Through the combined efforts of USDA and its partners, the United States is beginning to see progress and improvements in the health of our Nation's children. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Summer Food Service Program and other child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

206,770 Central Virginians at Risk of Hunger

June 11, 2013

A new study finds that 206,770 people in FeedMore’s Central Virginia service area – including 50,960 children – do not always
know where they will find their next meal. In all, nearly 14% of Central Virginians struggle with hunger, according to research
released earlier this week by Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks.

“This new data shows that hunger is a reality for thousands of our neighbors,” said Jeff Baldwin, media and public relations
manager for FeedMore.

Food‐insecurity numbers in the Capital Region are as follows:

City of Richmond ‐ 22% of the population and 22% of children ‐ 46,380 individuals and 8,590 children
County of Henrico ‐ 12.5% of the population and 13.3% of children – 38,080 individuals and 9,850 children
County of Chesterfield ‐ 9.4% of the population and 11.4% of children – 29,550 individuals and 9,360 children
County of Hanover – 7.1% of the population and 11.8% of children – 7,110 individuals and 2,960 children
City of Petersburg – 26.6% of the population and 20.2% of children – 8,620 individuals and 1,390 children
City of Hopewell – 20.4% of the population and 22.6% of children – 4,610 individuals and 1,290 children

The findings are from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap 2013” study, which estimates the rate of food insecurity for both
the general population and, separately, for children under the age of 18. The estimates are calculated at both the county and
congressional‐district level for the entire country. FeedMore is part of the Feeding America network.

"Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges in the United States,” said Dr. Craig Gundersen, professor of
agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, an international food‐insecurity expert and the lead
researcher of the “Map the Meal Gap” study. “We undertook this research to demonstrate the extent and prevalence of food
insecurity at both the county and congressional‐district level. This data has the potential to redefine the way service providers
and policy makers address food insecurity in the communities they serve.”

“We are particularly concerned about children who are undernourished. A child who does not receive adequate nutrition may
experience behavioral problems, have difficulty concentrating in school, and has an increased risk of medical problems. Lack of
adequate nutrition in children, for even a brief period of time, may also cause permanent physical and developmental
impairments,” Gundersen said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 50 million people nationwide are food‐insecure.
By analyzing household income levels, the study reveals that nearly 60% of children at risk of hunger in FeedMore’s service
area are eligible for federal nutrition programs, like free or reduced‐price school lunch or breakfast, but 40% are not.

“No one in Central Virginia should have to worry about where they will find their next meal,” added Baldwin. “We are
confident Central Virginia will rally together to help us ensure that no child, family or senior goes hungry.”

working together to feed more