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WHEREAS, many Virginians across the Commonwealth have difficulty accessing healthy, affordable food for their families; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed our commitment to ensuring that all Virginians have access to the food they need to grow and thrive; and
WHEREAS, prior to this public health crisis, approximately 850,000 Virginians, including 250,000 children, did not know where their next meal would come from and forecasts indicate an additional 445,000 Virginians will be food insecure as a result of the pandemic; and
WHEREAS, food security is strongly linked to children’s health and academic success, and improving food access is a key tool in supporting improved educational outcomes and the development of a 21st century workforce; and
WHEREAS, the Children’s Cabinet, supported by a stakeholder working group including public and private partners, has made great progress to ensure Virginia children have consistent, reliable access to healthy foods and the benefits they need; and
WHEREAS, the Children’s Cabinet and stakeholder working group have created tools, including FeedVA.org, to support leaders and organizations in their efforts to increase access to healthy foods in every community and increase their impact in every corner of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, FeedVA.org, is an interactive tool to connect partners, share resources, and accelerate efforts to help end childhood hunger in Virginia and strengthen local food systems; and
WHEREAS, in July, the Commonwealth of Virginia launched the statewide “We Care” initiative in partnership with Sentara Healthcare, Truist, and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks to bolster the Commonwealth’s emergency food support system and distribute approximately 100,000 boxes with a five-day food supply; and
WHEREAS, the Northam Administration is committed to mobilizing resources and developing innovative strategies to address the needs of Virginia families facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; and
WHEREAS, this work is especially important now when school days are different for many students, when more families are dealing with financial uncertainty, and when our communities and Commonwealth are in the midst of an economic recovery; and
WHEREAS, we recommit ourselves to raising public awareness about food insecurity and taking action to end hunger in our communities by donating food or funds, volunteering, or engaging in advocacy;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 16-23, 2020, as the FEED VIRGINIA WEEK OF ACTION in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.