PoliticalNews.me - Jun 10,2012 - ROCKEFELLER SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON CHILDHOOD HUNGER
Joins With Huntington Area Food Bank in Announcing Food Giveaway for Kids in Need
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senator Jay Rockefeller said childhood hunger is on the rise in West Virginia and that community groups, concerned citizens, non-profits and government agencies must join together to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
Rockefeller’s remarks came at a roundtable discussion Friday that examined summer food programs, which face an uphill battle in feeding hungry children who are out of school for the summer. (Read a fact sheet about childhood hunger in West Virginia by clicking here.)
Congress is currently considering a Farm Bill that could help fund these programs through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Rockefeller on Friday gathered a statewide group of food bank and food pantry organizers, child health experts, school officials and others to address the growing problem of childhood hunger.
“Today is about shining a light on a growing tragedy,” Rockefeller said. “Thousands of children in West Virginia go to bed hungry every night. Not enough people recognize that, especially during the summer months.
"Studies indicate that good nutrition is essential to the success of young students. I want these young people to have a bright future and they can't do that if they go bed hungry.”
More than 200,000 West Virginia children rely on free and reduced lunches, but only 16,000 are served by summer food programs. That’s an enormous gap Rockefeller is seeking to fill along with input from community groups and state and federal officials.
“We all know West Virginians take care of each other,” Rockefeller said. “When times are tough, we come together. But we have to know what we’re up against. That’s why we’re here today.”
On Friday, the Huntington Area Food Bank joined Rockefeller in announcing a USDA pilot program that distributes TEFAP to families of children on summer break from school. The food pantry is operating out of Cabell Midland High School.
“We are extremely excited to be working with Cabell Midland Schools and USDA and humbled by the trust both have placed in Huntington Area Food Bank for this project,” said Scott Frasure, Director of Development at Huntington area Food Bank. “We are also working with the Corporation for National and Community Service by placing an AmeriCorp VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) provided to us by the West Virginia’s Promise- Alliance for Youth state office, in the school, to administer the program.
“Our goal is to identify at risk students and provide food for them and their families. Although we will be distributing TEFAP we will need the support of everyone in that community to make sure that we are able to sustain the pantry with a nutritious assortment of food. TEFAP foods are not tailored for projects like these and additional foods will be needed to make the program successful. The VISTA will also be contacting local civic groups, businesses and organizations and asking them to support this very important