Over 5,000 Pittsylvania County children collect free or reduced lunch, according to the Virginia Department of Education. One local group ensures children don’t go hungry in the summer.
“We’ve operated a summer feeding program for 20 years,” said Sonji Webb, coordinator for Head Start’s Summer Feeding Program. “We’re using our own funding for these kids.”
Head Start is a child development program that focuses on school readiness and child welfare.
Pittsylvania County Head Start officials organized the Summer Feeding Program to give free lunches to local children during the summer. In the wake of COVID-19, all of their usual places of distribution and outside funding have become unavailable, Webb said.
“We usually use the Salvation Army,” Webb said. “But they won’t let us in this year.”
Webb and her team set up a food truck outside the Tightsqueeze Plaza Food Lion from 12-2 every Tuesday and Thursday before school resumes, starting last week. They also deliver lunches to Gretna during off hours, Webb said.
“We need to make sure our kids get fed,” Webb said. “Danville kids get fed in the summer, but a lot of county kids don’t. That’s where we come in.”