Nonprofit grant helps Tri-City schools expand meal services

Grant helps schools expand meal services

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - Two area school districts are getting a much-needed boost to their food distribution efforts for children who are learning virtually.

Hopewell and Petersburg City schools were among two recipients of a nearly $155,000 grant from No Kid Hungry Virginia, a nonprofit which aims to strengthen child nutrition programs during the aftermath COVID-19 pandemic.

“School meals were available prior to the pandemic, they’ve been available since schools shut down in March and every single school division in Virginia, and they’ll be they’ll continue to be available in whatever comes next,” said the nonprofit’s associate director Sarah Steely.

Schools across the region recently received more than $155,000 from No Kid Hungry Virginia. Grants include:

  • Hopewell City Public Schools received $22,000 to support the purchase of an additional cargo van to help transport free meals to 17 different sites across the county.
  • Petersburg City Public Schools was granted $39,375 for equipment supplies and the expansion of its free meal sites.
  • Smart Beginnings Southeast was awarded $49,550 for a program pilot to promote affordable access to fruits and vegetables in Petersburg and Hopewell.
  • Prince Edward County Public Schools received $15,085 to support meal service equipment and the expansion of nutrition programs in the county.
  • Amelia County Public Schools received $30,000 to support meal service equipment and operations.

“In the case of Hopewell, our funding went to supporting an additional vehicle that will allow the school nutrition department to reach additional parts of the city beyond the meal stops that they were already reaching,” said Steely.

Petersburg schools received $39,000 to support equipment needs during food transportation.

“Our funding is helping support equipment needs that...ensure that food can be delivered efficiently, but most importantly safely,” said Steely. “Things like coolers and ice packs to make sure that as the food is being prepped in the cafeteria is making it safely to the kids. Some of that funding went to some PPE for our school nutrition staff.”

Since schools first closed in March, No Kid Hungry has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to help Virginia school divisions and community organizations meet the increased needs across the state

“Whether it’s a pandemic or not, school meals help kids learn. That’s just the bottom line,” said Steely.

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