TAYLOR COUNTY—Summer break has finally come for the county’s students, and while they are enjoying their time away from the classroom, the Taylor County Board of Education (BOE) wanted to make sure that they received adequate nutrition.
To do so, the BOE is taking part in the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
According to the WVDE, the program supports child nutrition during the summer break when thousands of the state’s school children suffer from heightened food insecurity. The program works alongside boards of education, local governments and nonprofit organizations to help bring food to youths in conjunction with summer activities.
In 2020, the program provided nutritious meals through 785 Summer Food Program sites across the state, a feat made possible through U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funding.
During the school year, over 200,000 West Virginia School children depend on free and reduced-priced meals. However, in summer months, food insecurities often persist because these children do not have access to school breakfast and lunch through programs like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program.
Taylor County Director of Child Nutrition, Donette Nines, shared that many students rely on school breakfasts and lunches throughout the school year, but during the summer months some students may go without.
“Many teachers and staff worry about the kids being home for the summer and making sure they are fed while they are gone,” expressed Nines. “We are happy to be able to help make sure food is available to the students during the summer months.”
Here in Taylor County, meals will be served to students in three locations and in conjunction with Taylor County Middle School’s annual summer band camp.
Grafton High School, Anna Jarvis Elementary School and Taylor County Middle School will all be acting as sites this summer, offering meals Monday through Friday, from July 6 until August 5.
Breakfast will be served from 8:00-9:00 a.m., and lunch will be dished out from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
For more information about the individual’s sites, please contact Lori Shumaker at Grafton High by calling 304-265-3046 or Taylor County Middle School and Anna Jarvis Elementary representative Linda Casto at 304-265-2497.
Then, from August 9-13, Taylor County Middle School Band Camp will host breakfast from 7:30-8:00 a.m., and lunch will be provided from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact Josh Chiado at 304-265-0722.
In an effort to ensure that children are receiving good, healthy meals, the BOE is also taking part in a program that will provide health food items on the doorsteps of families.
“My goal was to reach more kids this summer,” Nines revealed. “I know that some families don’t have adequate transportation, and with gas prices rising, I wanted to ensure that everyone had the ability to receive healthy, nutritious meals. So, I thought that a direct ship method would be perfect.”
Now, families can take part in Taylor County Schools’ Summer 2021 Direct Ship Meal Boxes program, that will run from June 28 through August 23.
The free seven-day meal boxes containing shelf stable milk and food items will be mailed out directly to families once a week and will arrive to their doors via either FedEx or UPS.
In order to enroll in the program, families will need to complete a one-time application. Families with more than one child will need to complete a form for each individual child, but once it is submitted, enrollment will take effect.
Forms may be obtained by visiting https://forms.office.com/r/3AinwEtqFy.
A QR Code may also be found on the Taylor County Board of Education’s website, taylorcountyboe.net. Individuals will need to click on the Departments tab and then select Child Nutrition.
These free programs are open to all children, ages 18 years and under. Children to do not need to be participants in the individual programs in order to be eligible for the Summer Food Service Program.
For more information about the Taylor County Schools Summer Food Program, please call the Nines in the Office of Child Nutrition at 304-265-2497.