Summer shouldn't mean hunger for children - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Summer shouldn't mean hunger for children

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    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:13:55 GMT
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    In Raleigh County, a woman is miraculously not seriously injured, after her car rolls over on I-77 around 6:30 Wednesday night.An eyewitness tells us the woman was driving in the left lane on the northbound side. She suddenly veered off the road, over corrected,then slammed into the side of a tractor trailer. The car rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on it's roof.The witness says two small dogs ran out of the car. Moments later, the woman crawled out and ran after one of the dogs....
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    Friday, August 1 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:34:00 GMT
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  • Alpha Natural Resources may idle eight mines in the state of West Virginia

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    Friday, August 1 2014 3:58 PM EDT2014-08-01 19:58:48 GMT
    Alpha Natural Resources might lay off over 1,000 minersAlpha Natural Resources might lay off over 1,000 miners
    Just days after coal miners rally in Pittsburgh over new rules on EPA emissions another problem arises for the coal industry.Alpha Natural Resources says because of a weak market and government regulations mine sites might have to be shut down.Eight Alpha affiliated surface mines in West Virginia are expected to be shutdown by mid October. Three of the eight mines are right here in Southern West Virginia.One of the mines that could be idled is the Pioneer Fuel's Ewing Fork number 1 Surface Mi...
    Just days after coal miners rally in Pittsburgh over new rules on EPA emissions another problem arises for the coal industry.Alpha Natural Resources says because of a weak market and government regulations mine sites might have to be shut down.Eight Alpha affiliated surface mines in West Virginia are expected to be shutdown by mid October. Three of the eight mines are right here in Southern West Virginia.One of the mines that could be idled is the Pioneer Fuel's Ewing Fork number 1 Surface Mi...
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    Friday, August 1 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:58:46 GMT
    North-Central West Virginia has the largest concentration of high tech jobs in West Virginia. The new economy in the Clarksburg-Fairmont-Morgantown corridor is focused upon technology-based economic development.
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  • When you think you know everything, check online

    When you think you know everything, check online

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:00:22 GMT
    So, I’m strolling down Capitol Street in Charleston, taking in the joyous FestivALL celebration when I notice a pair of young boys smirking at my T-shirt.
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  • Solving those devil-dog, double-word problems

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    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:00:23 GMT
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Kevin Concannon is the USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.

As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. 

I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch. Unfortunately, many of our nation's children do not experience the simple joys of summer. In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family's income. When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture's summer meals programs.

That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.

USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year. The program serves free healthy meals to eligible children ages 18 and younger, and is made possible through the efforts of national, state and local partners, including a cadre of energized volunteers.

While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013. Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states. The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide — 7 million more than the previous year. We hope to continue building on last year's successes with our state and local partners in 2014, and move closer to closing the summer hunger gap. 

The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical for the continued success of SFSP. The deadlines to become Summer Food Service Program sponsors vary by state, and begin as early as April 15. Program sponsors oversee and provide meals to summer sites. In return, USDA, through the states, reimburses program sponsors for the meals served to children.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations and volunteers takes time, effort and commitment on all sides. For any community that treasures its youth (and I haven't met one that doesn't), we must organize now to fight hunger this summer.

If you or your organization is interested in helping reduce the risk of hunger among our nation's youth, visit our website, summerfood.usda.gov. The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices and more. State representatives also are available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.

This year, let's work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.