ROANOKE, Va. – Seeing a rise in child hunger during the coronavirus pandemic, the Virginia Health Department is recognizing the effort of a program that provides for the most vulnerable.
This week is National Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week.
The national campaign aims to raise awareness of how USDA’s CACFP works within communities to combat hunger and promote accessibility of nutritious meals to those in need.
According to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, about 275,000 more Virginians experienced food insecurity because of COVID-19.
Virginia’s Special Nutrition Program Supervisor Ashley Smith said when schools were shutting down during the pandemic, afterschool programs and childcare facilities had to fill the gap.
“Regarding the meal pattern... they might not find milk because it wasn’t readily available in the beginning,” she said.
Virginia CACFP provides over 24.8 million meals and snacks to over 59,000 participants daily.
More than 1,000 care centers and 1,700 family day care home providers work with nearly a dozen sponsors through the Virginia CACFP to provide nutritious meals to children and adults.
Smith said during the pandemic an influx of centers joined the program to seek financial assistance to serve the strong community demand.
Eligible organizations interested in the program’s resources and benefits can head to the website to learn more.