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Del. Roem Advocates for Increased Access to School Meals

| March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education, News

Photo courtesy of Danica Roem.

Virginia State Delegate Danica Rome (D-13th) wants help spreading the word that Prince William County Schools has added Yorkshire Elementary School and Coles Elementary School to its list of food distribution sites.

Prince William County Schools ‘Meals to-go’ is available to all students under 18: Monday-Friday, 9-10 a.m. The child must be present to obtain his or her meals.

“As a reminder, federal regulations require students to be present to pick up the food, even if parents show up on their behalf. (For the record, I hope that policy is revoked. Parents shouldn’t have to force their kids out of their homes, especially if they have pre-existing conditions,)” she said.

Roem knows the importance of making sure every child is fed, especially during these critical times. She is pleased that these Manassas area schools have been added to the list, making securing food less of a burden for families.

“Hunger and poverty are real in the greater Manassas area, where we have so many students enrolled in free-and-reduced school meals.”

“It’s essential for free meals to be easily accessible for every child. The addition of Yorkshire Elementary School to the food distribution list is critical in a high-need area of the 13th District.”

“While we still face transportation challenges for families whose children rely on taking the bus to get to school, this is at least a start to addressing the problem.”

Roem also hopes that publicity can help address the need to allow parents to pick up meals on behalf of their child or children.

“We have a problem I believe we can fix and I need your help:

The situation is the USDA has a regulation that students must be present at school sites that are distributing food in order to receive that food. This isn’t the fault of our localities; it’s a federal policy.”

“The problem is that if you’re the parent of a school-age child who has a pre-existing condition and needs to be sheltering in place, then the policy is forcing you to make a choice between compromising your child’s health or not accepting the food.”

Roem said she is talking to various media outlets about her concern, hoping the federal government will respond.

“Frankly, all children should be sheltering in place right now, especially children who have pre-existing conditions and are subsequently high-risk.

If you know someone who falls into that gap or your family does, please contact me: DelDRoem@house.virginia.gov. Hopefully, by putting attention on this issue we can get it resolved.
Thank you,
Danica

Bristow Beat also asks that anyone who falls within this gap contact us so that we can share your story. You and your child can remain anonymous if you so choose. You can email stacyshaw@bristowbeat.com or PM Bristow Beat via Facebook. 

Danica Roem-D is Virginia House of Representatives State Delegate, representing the 13th District. Her district includes parts of Manassas Park, and Prince William County, including parts of the Manassas and Gainesville area. 

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Category: Education, News

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