Councilman hopes to spread word on free school meals, RPS to deliver

Councilman hopes to spread word on free school meals, RPS to deliver
For many students in Richmond, school lunches are crucial. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For many students in Richmond, school lunches are crucial.

"Our schools in the 9th District, they are right at about 100 percent free and reduced lunch," City Councilman Michael Jones said. "When schools are closed, where's that food coming from?"

"Without them, some kids are literally not going to eat," added Richmond Public Schools superintendent Jason Kamras. "Making sure we provide them every day that we're closed is really priority number one."

RPS is offering free meals to students and their families during the school closure, but when Jones stopped by some of the distributing sites in his district, more food remained than he had hoped.

"We just want to make sure that residents in the 9th District and on the Southside understand that there are resources there for them," the councilman said.

"We just want to make sure everyone knows that the food is available and that the sites are open," said Amy Wentz, a community advocate in the Southside. "Anything we can do to spread that word, people. Put it on your Facebook pages, send it out in tweets, text your friends, send an e-mail out, get the word out."

Now, RPS is taking another big step in making sure that every student who needs food is getting it.

“Not only are we going to have the 20 school-based sites, but we’re actually going to be driving food from the sites into our neighborhoods to make sure everybody gets it,” Jones said.

That's a measure that Councilman Jones thinks will help a great deal.

“Our district is not very walkable,” he pointed out. “We want to make sure that we can get food to where our residents are.”

Jones also notes that his district contains a large Hispanic population and he'll continue doing everything he can to make sure there is no disconnect in distributing information to the entire area.

“We’re going to do more. We’re going to make sure that our Latino community, that they understand what’s available to them. I want to make sure that all of them, every one of us, have the information that’s necessary,” Jones said.

"I think RPS is doing a great job of leading with love and that's what we need during these times, for community to come together and for our leaders to show us that we're all in this together," said Wentz.

Parents and guardians can pick up food at any of the 20 school-based sites. It does not have to be the school their children attend.

Starting today, there will be several community-based mobile stations for families to pick up food as well.

The Henderson Middle School site is now closed due to accessibility issues.

RPS will be opening a new site at Carver Elementary School.

For more information, including where food is being offered, click here.

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