San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith (center) and First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe (right) meet with some of the food preparation staff at Hollin Meadows Elementary School during a visit to the Summer Food Service Program.
Photo by Tim Peterson.
Visiting with children at Hollin Meadows Elementary School, Dorothy McAuliffe playfully reminded them that as First Lady of Virginia, she’s not, in fact, Michelle Obama.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) wife was joined at the Mount Vernon-area school by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith to meet with the children and hand out free lunches as part of the Summer Food Service Program.
Smith played football at Stafford Senior High School in Virginia, then at the University of Maryland. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, with whom he spent four years before recently signing with the 49ers.
The Summer Food Service Program, which falls under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, acts as a supplement for students in low-income families whose free and reduced meals during the school year would otherwise not be available in the summer. In Fairfax County, 20 percent of students fall into that category.
Hollin Meadows is one of 51 school sites around Fairfax County where the school system is hosting the program. Any child 18 or younger can come for breakfast and lunch during specific summer dates. Their parents don’t have to register; they simply get their child to a participating site.
“In Virginia, only 13 percent of children who receive a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year receive summer meals,” Mrs. McAuliffe said in a statement. “We can do better to ensure that kids have healthy meals every day of the year.”
The First Lady of Virginia’s office is partnering with the national No Kid Hungry campaign and Virginia Department of Health to both raise awareness of meal programs and find ways to overcome obstacles to kids readily receiving healthy food.
At Hollin Meadows, about 100 boys and girls came through the program at 11 a.m. and roughly another 100 came at noon on July 14. McAuliffe and Smith visited with children in the second group before going back to the serving line to distribute sack lunches.
As the pair also took time to meet the food preparation staff, Smith thanked them for everything they do for the children. He said he still visits the lunch lady at his former school, where his favorite school lunch was chicken sandwiches.
“This is a great example of combining a meal and summer fun,” McAuliffe said after their serving shift was over. “Kids can’t be hungry for knowledge if they’re just plain hungry.”
Families interested in participating in the program can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 or call 866-3HUNGRY or 2-1-1 in order to find summer meals sites in their area. More information is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/summermeals.htm.