HAMPTON Va. (WAVY) — As a way to combat hunger in the Commonwealth, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe declared Friday September 29 as Feed Virginia Day of Action.
The day of service is an initiative of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide which is Chaired by the First Lady. Volunteers spent their days at events in Hampton Roads and Richmond where Governor Terry McAuliffe and the First Lady celebrated the inaugural day.
The Governor and Mrs. McAuliffe visited volunteers, educators, and farmers at events designed to promote Virginia agriculture and improve food access for all Virginians.
Acccording to the Governor’s office, across the Commonwealth, partner organizations hosted a total of 87 volunteer events to take action against hunger, and support the council’s work to improve food access and strengthen connections across the food system. Additionally, over 1,077 schools in 72 divisions serving over 318,000 students hosted free universal breakfasts to commemorate the Day of Action.
In Virginia, 17 percent of children face food insecurity. It is one of the reasons why dozens of volunteers in Hampton Roads are spending their day at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. Tony Nelson is one of those volunteers. Nelson works for the Division of Child Support Enforcement.
“My career is about supporting children and families and my career is about supporting children,” said Nelson. “Parents who have custody of their children, when they get that child support they spend it, they spend it on food.”
The Day of Action encourages people to take action against hunger, and support the council’s work to improve food access and strengthen connections across the food system.
Karen Joyner, CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank knows the importance of this day.
“Today we had some different groups who wanted to help with this event happening all across the state,” said Joyner. “It’s very personal and people don’t advertise that they are hungry. There is a lot of pride involved, so everyone knows somebody whether it’s a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a child that goes to school with their child.”
The Food Bank received a major donation on this day, with 1,800 boxes of Marconi and cheese from CarMax.
During the school year the Virginia Peninsula food bank distributes 1,500 backpacks a week to children who need them.