RICHMOND, Va, (WDVM) — Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Northam have unveiled the Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger.
Over the past three years, Virginia’s administration has been working to ensure that children in the Commonwealth have access to healthy foods. Virginia’s Roadmap to End Hunger, will combat childhood hunger and strengthen local food systems, according to officials. The roadmap was produced by Northam’s Children’s Cabinet which focuses on early childhood development, school readiness, nutrition, and food security.
According to officials in Virginia and across the country, food insecurity rates are increasing, with an estimated 445,000 additional Virginians experiencing food insecurity because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the broader social determinants of health including food security. The Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger includes goals and strategies to:
- Expand child nutrition programs
- Increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women Infant and Children (WIC) Program
- Increase nutrition support for seniors
- Grow access to local food for schools and families
- Strengthen connections between food access programs and the healthcare sector
- Encourage food and agriculture investments in food deserts and marginalized communities
- Amplify public awareness of hunger in Virginia and support information sharing across public and private sectors
- Support community organizing to combat food insecurity and hunger