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WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is committed to ensuring equitable food access in every part of the state; and
WHEREAS, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 800,000 Virginians were food insecure, including 214,000 children; an additional 150,000 Virginians will experience food insecurity because of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, food insecurity is correlated to negative health consequences and poor education outcomes; and
WHEREAS, the staff of food banks, food retail workers, food access advocates, growers, and volunteers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that all Virginians have access to the food needed to grow and thrive; and
WHEREAS, since the beginning of the pandemic, school nutrition departments pivoted with innovation and bravery to ensure that students were nourished wherever they were learning, whether in a classroom or virtually; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s inaugural Roadmap to End Hunger establishes a unified set of goals and strategies to prioritize food security during the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond by developing policies, programs, and partnerships to benefit Virginia’s children and communities; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has made great strides in addressing food insecurity by expanding access to federal nutrition programs, establishing the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program to connect Virginia’s farmers and food insecure residents, as well as the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund to catalyze innovative food retail projects in communities with poor food access; and
WHEREAS, while the Commonwealth has made dramatic progress against hunger in recent years, there is still more action needed to fix this solvable problem and ensure that no Virginian goes hungry;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2021 as HUNGER ACTION MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.