HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) -- The goal across Virginia is to leave no kid hungry.
Governor Terry McAuliffe joined Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, No Kid Hungry Virginia, and other officials Wednesday to launch the Hampton Summer Food Service Program at West Hampton Community Center.
Anyone 18 or younger can get free, healthy summer meals at 29 sites throughout the city.
The program is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make sure low-income children get nutritious meals when they're not in school.
The USDA reimburses entities that sponsor the Summer Food Service Program (like Hampton Parks and Recreation) for the meals that they serve, allowing the sponsors to serve the food at no cost to the children.
The reimbursement makes it possible for those groups to take resources that would have gone towards food and use them for other operations/services.
In Virginia, less than 15% of kids who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year are getting summer meals.
According to No Kid Hungry, nearly 17% of children in the state don't have access to enough affordable and nutritious food.
She'nya Hicks is heading to middle school in the fall. She's only 11 years old, but she knows how tough it can be for some of her classmates to find healthy food to eat once summer starts.
“It's some kids at home struggling and they can only eat cereal because there's not a full meal at the house,” Hicks says.
Families can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 and type in a zip code to find the nearest summer meals sites.