Free summer meals program kicks off in Sterling

Stefanie Dove assists Olivia and William Kent with planting a milk carton garden at a summer kick-off event June 10. 

Thirteen Virginia residents were named in the 2019 No Kid Hungry Summer Hero Hall of Fame, including two Loudoun County Public Schools staff members – Greg Holmes and Stefanie Dove.

Of the 20 states with honorees, Virginia had the most, according to No Kid Hungry officials. The annual hall of fame is a national recognition to celebrate individuals who have provided innovative ways to ensure children within their community receive nutritious meals during the summertime.

Holmes and Dove helped create the PowerFUEL summer meals program in 2016, sponsored by LCPS school nutrition. The estimated number of meals given through the 2019 summer program is 32,000. These meals are not just given to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches throughout the school year, but any Loudoun County resident 18 and under.

“I feel honored, but truthfully we’re just two of many faces who make our powerFUEL summer program a success,” Dove said. “We have more than 30 employees working at all of our summer sites plus the countless hours our team of 17 put in the office since January to make it all possible.”

Summer meals are held to the same USDA nutritional standards regarding calories, sodium and saturated fat that LCPS meals are throughout the school year. Dove added that summer meals are planned by a team of registered dietitians.

Dove said the summer meal plan was “truly a community effort,” since partners like the Sterling Library or the Police Academy set up safe places for families to receive and eat their meals. The program kicked off June 10 at the Sterling Public Library. Children enjoyed a free and nutritious breakfast and lunch and participated through physical activity stations and nutrition information tables.

“At many of our sites were school garden programs, as well as hydration stations and demos for nutrition, education and health responsiveness,” Holmes said.

More information can be found at lcpshealthycafe.org or by following LCPSCafe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The nonprofit No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength.

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