No kid should go hungry

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

There are plenty of examples in Hampton Roads of public-private partnerships that failed the public. Take, for instance, the private management of the Downtown and Midtown tunnels between Portsmouth and Norfolk, which subjects current and future residents and visitors to ever-increasing tolls from now until decades from now.

However, some of these partnerships work. And we think the one being led by the No Kid Hungry Virginia campaign is one of those that does.

A meeting was held this week at the Suffolk Health Department to talk about how the program can better serve youngsters who otherwise might go hungry during the summer. It featured a number of local nonprofits and churches as well as local government entities and the state program representatives.

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Typically, the government program funds sites like those run by Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk Parks and Recreation, the Foodbank of Southeast Virginia and the Cover 3 Foundation, which combined to sponsor 21 summer sites in 2017. The sponsoring entities then receive reimbursement for their expenses incurred in feeding children.

So higher levels of government are funding the sites run by local government entities, such as the schools and parks and recreation, as well as sites run by nonprofits.

That sounds to us like a public-private partnership that works.

The summer feeding program is important, because low-income families that rely on free and reduced-price meals for their children during the school year may have difficulty affording food as well as all of the other essentials during the summer. Summer hunger can worsen the “summer slide,” where children lose some of the academic progress they made during the school year.

We appreciate the many organizations that participate in this program for the good of the children of our community.