First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe joined Feeding America Southwest Virginia and partners at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia to launch the Café to Grow “Foodie Truck,” a new vehicle that will serve freshly prepared meals to children across the Roanoke area this summer.
Café to Grow is a part of the Summer Food Service Program, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
On average, only 13 percent of Virginia kids who rely on free or reduce-priced school lunches get free meals in the summer through the program. Café to Grow will serve 200 children per day, five days per week, at locations across Roanoke, including the Boys & Girls Club Southwest Virginia, Tinker Creek Apartments and Ashton Heights Apartments.
“For too many kids, summer is the hungriest time of year,” said Mrs. McAuliffe. “Losing access to school meals means greater food insecurity for thousands of Virginia families. Café to Grow is a smart and innovative way to make sure all of our children can access fresh, healthy meals every day of the year.”
Café to Grow is a F-250 crew cab pickup truck with a custom-built 18-foot concession trailer. Food for the truck is prepared in a commercial kitchen by volunteers and Feeding America Southwest Virginia staff.
Meals are free to children and teens ages 18 and younger who come to summer meal sites. No application or registration is required.
Several partners helped fund the new truck, including Food Lion Feeds, Norfolk Southern, Coca-Cola Bottling, the Johnson Foundation and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Virginia campaign, which granted $15,000 to help purchase the truck, as well as staffing for the truck and at other summer meals sites.
“For 36 years, we’ve worked tirelessly to serve the needs of our communities – and especially to feed children,” said Pamela Irvine, President and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia. “Café to Grow allows us to respond directly to the need for better quality, more nutritious meals for children. We’re deeply thankful for all our sponsors and everyone who has supported us from the beginning to make this innovative new program a reality.”
Visit www.faswva.org for more information on summer meal sites in Southwest Virginia. For statewide resources, go to va.nokidhungry.org.