~Communities and schools across Virginia host volunteer events to support the Commonwealth’s food system ~
RICHMOND – Today, Sept. 29, at volunteer events in Newport News, Dumfries, and Richmond, Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe celebrated the inaugural Feed Virginia Day of Action, an initiative of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide which is Chaired by the First Lady. The Governor and Mrs. McAuliffe visited volunteers, educators, and farmers at events designed to promote Virginia agriculture and improve food access for all Virginians.
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.
“While Virginia has an abundance of agricultural resources, nutritious, affordable food is still out of reach for far too many families,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “Our administration has focused on strengthening Virginia’s food system, and I am pleased to have partnered with many incredible organizations in that work. Today’s celebration represents both the impact of hunger in every corner of our Commonwealth, and a commitment from stakeholders and volunteers across our food system to building lasting solutions for all Virginians.”
The Feed Virginia Day of Action was established in September to align with Feeding America’s ‘Hunger Action Month. The Virginia General Assembly has also designated each day from Sept. 11 to Oct. 11 as a ‘Day to Serve’ in the Commonwealth.
“I’m proud of all the individuals and organizations who have come together to strengthen Virginia’s food system and participate in the first ever Feed Virginia Day of Action,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Virginia is at its strongest when we collaborate, share resources, and align our missions across all sectors. Thanks to the the First Lady’s leadership, we are leading the way in closing the nutrition gap for our food insecure families.”
The Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide, chaired by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, was created by executive order in 2014 to work to solve childhood hunger the Commonwealth, promote Virginia’s agriculture economy, and facilitate local initiatives related to community nutrition, food access, and health strategies and programs throughout the Commonwealth. Over the past three years, the Council has made significant strides to expand food access in the Commonwealth, including serving 10 million more school breakfasts in 2016-17 than in the first year of the Governor’s term.
In May 2017, the Council established the Virginia Food Access Network, an interactive tool to accelerate efforts, connect partners, and share resources to end childhood hunger in Virginia. The website, along with additional information on the Day of Action, is available at VFAN.org.