Feeding Southwest Virginia Press Release

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For Immediate Release

Contact:

Pamela Irvine                                              Rhonda Chafin

President & CEO                                        Executive Director

Feeding Southwest Virginia                    Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee

540-521-6217                                               423-279-0430 Ext. 206

This summer, hundreds of local children may lose access to nutritious meals if Congress does not take action.

ABINGDON, Va. (March 28, 2022) – On Monday, March 28 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bristol Virginia-Tennessee sign (adjacent to 425 State St, Bristol, TN 37620), Feeding Southwest Virginia and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee will gather together to express their alarm at the failure of Congress to extend the USDA child nutrition waivers.

Last year, when many schools moved to remote learning, the USDA provided schools and charitable children’s feeding programs like Food Banks with a waiver of the requirement for children to consume meals onsite in a congregate setting. These waivers allowed local children’s feeding programs to safely and swiftly distribute food through grab-and-go methods, sometimes enough food for several days. Consequently, Food Banks were able to expand their children’s feeding programs to meet the unprecedented number of kids now living with hunger in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

“In my opinion, the loss associated with the Congressional decision to eliminate the exemption of congregate meal requirements is discriminatory against children living in rural communities,” said Pamela Irvine, CEO of Feeding Southwest Virginia. “Rural children who live several miles from meal sites will only receive one meal to consume onsite, rather than multiple grab-and-go meals permitted under the waivers. Families will have to make more trips to meal sites, and gas prices are high. Many rural sites will be unable to operate under the requirements for serving meals. Feeding Southwest Virginia is committed to equitable food distribution within our 26-county region. This summer, 1,800 children across Southwest Virginia could miss good, nutritious meals. That is unacceptable.”

Without further action from Congress, many children’s meal sites will be forced to shutter — leaving children without meals that they rely on. In far Southwest Virginia, 19 Feeding Southwest Virginia partner meal programs likely will not reopen this summer, leaving hundreds of children without a stable meal source. In Northeast Tennessee, none of the children’s feeding sites will reopen without the extension of the waivers.

“Many children in Northeast Tennessee rely on our summer feeding program for meals when they are not in school. The exemption of congregate meal requirements provided by USDA help children get the food they need throughout the summer break. Without the exemption, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee cannot operate the feeding sites that are so desperately needed throughout our region,” said Executive Director Rhonda Chafin, “these programs are the most efficient and effective ways to serve children in remote rural areas during the summer.”

Feeding Southwest Virginia:

Feeding Southwest Virginia was founded in 1981 and proudly commemorates 40 years of fighting hunger and changing lives through community partnerships. The Food Bank is an affiliate member of Feeding America.  For the last four decades, the Food Bank’s ultimate mission has remained the same: eliminate hunger in the region. The primary function of the Food Bank is to secure and distribute large quantities of food for the hungry. Approximately $30 million worth of food and grocery related products are channeled annually through a network of more than 380 partner feeding programs in our 26-county, 9-city region that provide food or meals to those in need. Visit www.FeedingSWVA.org for more information.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee:

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee feeds the hungry by securing donations of food from national and local manufacturers, grocers and individuals and redistributing to qualified nonprofit charities and through Food Bank programs that feed the hungry in an eight-county region of Northeast Tennessee composed of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi Counties. The Food Bank is a 501 c3 non-profit organization located in Kingsport, Tennessee and is a member of Feeding America, the Nation’s largest Food Bank network.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:

Pamela Irvine                                              Rhonda Chafin

President & CEO                                        Executive Director

Feeding Southwest Virginia                    Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee

540-521-6217                                               423-279-0430 Ext. 206

This summer, hundreds of local children may lose access to nutritious meals if Congress does not take action.

ABINGDON, Va. (March 28, 2022) – On Monday, March 28 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bristol Virginia-Tennessee sign (adjacent to 425 State St, Bristol, TN 37620), Feeding Southwest Virginia and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee will gather together to express their alarm at the failure of Congress to extend the USDA child nutrition waivers.

Last year, when many schools moved to remote learning, the USDA provided schools and charitable children’s feeding programs like Food Banks with a waiver of the requirement for children to consume meals onsite in a congregate setting. These waivers allowed local children’s feeding programs to safely and swiftly distribute food through grab-and-go methods, sometimes enough food for several days. Consequently, Food Banks were able to expand their children’s feeding programs to meet the unprecedented number of kids now living with hunger in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

“In my opinion, the loss associated with the Congressional decision to eliminate the exemption of congregate meal requirements is discriminatory against children living in rural communities,” said Pamela Irvine, CEO of Feeding Southwest Virginia. “Rural children who live several miles from meal sites will only receive one meal to consume onsite, rather than multiple grab-and-go meals permitted under the waivers. Families will have to make more trips to meal sites, and gas prices are high. Many rural sites will be unable to operate under the requirements for serving meals. Feeding Southwest Virginia is committed to equitable food distribution within our 26-county region. This summer, 1,800 children across Southwest Virginia could miss good, nutritious meals. That is unacceptable.”

Without further action from Congress, many children’s meal sites will be forced to shutter — leaving children without meals that they rely on. In far Southwest Virginia, 19 Feeding Southwest Virginia partner meal programs likely will not reopen this summer, leaving hundreds of children without a stable meal source. In Northeast Tennessee, none of the children’s feeding sites will reopen without the extension of the waivers.

“Many children in Northeast Tennessee rely on our summer feeding program for meals when they are not in school. The exemption of congregate meal requirements provided by USDA help children get the food they need throughout the summer break. Without the exemption, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee cannot operate the feeding sites that are so desperately needed throughout our region,” said Executive Director Rhonda Chafin, “these programs are the most efficient and effective ways to serve children in remote rural areas during the summer.”

Feeding Southwest Virginia:

Feeding Southwest Virginia was founded in 1981 and proudly commemorates 40 years of fighting hunger and changing lives through community partnerships. The Food Bank is an affiliate member of Feeding America.  For the last four decades, the Food Bank’s ultimate mission has remained the same: eliminate hunger in the region. The primary function of the Food Bank is to secure and distribute large quantities of food for the hungry. Approximately $30 million worth of food and grocery related products are channeled annually through a network of more than 380 partner feeding programs in our 26-county, 9-city region that provide food or meals to those in need. Visit www.FeedingSWVA.org for more information.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee:

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee feeds the hungry by securing donations of food from national and local manufacturers, grocers and individuals and redistributing to qualified nonprofit charities and through Food Bank programs that feed the hungry in an eight-county region of Northeast Tennessee composed of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington and Unicoi Counties. The Food Bank is a 501 c3 non-profit organization located in Kingsport, Tennessee and is a member of Feeding America, the Nation’s largest Food Bank network.

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