Feeding America Southwest Virginia launches expanded summer feeding program

Program rolls out in multiple locations Wednesday

ROANOKE, Va. – Feeding America Southwest Virginia kicks off its summer feeding program Wednesday with more locations than ever before.

This year's program is especially important after a recent study found that 1 in 6 children in Southwest Virginia are food insecure.

Constance Smith and her crew are preparing to kick off the summer feeding program and are putting in extra hours to make sure no child goes hungry.

"So they're not just sad and wondering when they're going to get their next meal," said Smith, who is the FASWVA Community Solutions Center’s kitchen assistant manager.

Fearing your children might go hungry is a parent's worst nightmare and Smith has experienced it firsthand.

"I lost everything to a fire so not knowing where we were going to get our next meals at, living in a hotel -- that was a big struggle for me," Smith said.

That all changed when Smith enrolled in Feeding America's culinary training program, and now she's paying it forward.

"I know what it feels like and I know what my kids’ faces looked like and how sad they were, so it means a lot to me,” Smith said.

Feeding America is determined to keep other parents from feeling as Smith did, making sure children don't go without just because school's out.

"Can’t go wrong with feeding children," said Pamela Irvine, the CEO and president of FASWVA.

Last summer, the organization served 19,000 meals.

“We’re making an impact for a lot of children," Irvine said.

Irvine wants to do more good. That's why she's advocating for changes to a law, requiring the servers to watch children eat the meals, which she said limits the number of sites they can serve.

"If that's eliminated, then we can feed, and a lot of other organizations can feed, a lot more children," Irvine said.

Click here for a full list of times and locations for Feeding America's summer feeding program.