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Virginia Beach nonprofit matching donations to student hunger backpack program

VB Home Now will match up to $30,000 in community donations to keep students fed while schools are closed. The goal is to provide 16,000 bags of food.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — VB Home Now is matching community donations to a program aimed at giving food to students who might otherwise go hungry.

Wednesday, a release from the city said the nonprofit would match up to $30,000 in donations.

The Beach Bags program sends nonperishables and healthy snacks home with children who depend on school meals during the week. The program's goals is to shore up gaps in school meals over weekends, short breaks and summer breaks.

VB Home Now works to help house homeless families and youth, including some of the students who benefit from the city's Beach Bags initiative.

The programs are working together to take care of vulnerable children during an especially long, coronavirus-impacted summer break.

Virginia Beach superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said food and housing assistance is critical for these children to be able to pay attention in school, and keep up with their peers.

"Now more than ever, when this global health crisis has upended the normalcy of routines and threatened the safety of the school environment that some of our most vulnerable children depend upon, we are so grateful to VB Home Now for working to keep those students sheltered while helping us to keep them fed," he wrote.

RELATED: Virginia Department of Social Services offering Pandemic EBT benefits to families of students who receive free school meals

In the release, the city said data from the Virginia Beach Education Foundation showed a higher demand for Beach Bags after COVID-19 closed schools in March.

Ray Bjorkman, chairman of Virginia Beach Home Now, said with the combined $60,000, the partnership could sponsor 16,000 bags of food for food-insecure children in the city.

"We are standing in the gap now and want to help. Food insecurity and housing instability are very much connected to each other," Bjorkman wrote. "Together, we can help provide immediate relief for families as we continue to develop and support long-term solutions that will stabilize housing for our neighbors most affected by COVID-19."

If you want to participate, you can donate by clicking here.

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