CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The universal free lunch service is set to expire on June 30th. The service allowed students to eat free lunch at school.
Universal free lunches were implemented to help lift the financial burden off of families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the free lunch waiver expires, families must complete an application to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Summer school for Chesterfield County starts June 27th, leaving students with three days of guaranteed meals. However, community resources are trying to ensure families and children will not go hungry.
The Chesterfield Food Bank Outreach Center is diligently preparing for its Kids Summer Food Program, a program that provides families daily meals to ensure nobody goes hungry.
Nick Jenkins, the assistant executive director of the program, said they will be handing out bagged breakfast and lunch meals with enough food to feed families for up to five days.
“To be able to put food in the pantry and the refrigerators, that is something we really take to heart, and we know the difference that it can make,” Jenkins said.
The food distribution sites will begin on June 27th and end on July 21st, with meals being served on a first-come, first-serve basis. Jenkins said in the past, the program has served up to 30,000 families in just a few months.
“The people who come out can also receive on top of the basket of food that we give them, they can receive a bag of lunch and breakfast for each kid, so they don’t have to worry about the security of food for the summer,” Jenkins said.
Children ages one to 18 are eligible to receive the bags of food, which can contain items such as hamburger helper, cereal, canned tuna, PB&J, and various snacks.
“We are going to be on the front lines doing everything we can to make sure kids in our area, families in our area, do not have to go hungry,” Jenkins said. “Our mission is to fight hunger and empower lives, and that is our goal.”
The Chesterfield Food Bank Outreach Center is always accepting donations and looking for volunteers to help feed the community. You can find out more information here.