Orange County Public Schools employee nabs national honor

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ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Thirteen Virginians and organizations were listed on the No Kid Hungry 2019 Hero Hall of Fame.

One of the honorees was Taylor Education Administrative Center cafeteria manager Cheryl Perkins.

Perkins was told last week that she was receiving this national honor that recognizes and celebrates those who find ways to ensure children get the food and nutrition they need during the summer months.

"My first reaction was like 'Oh, my God. Are you serious?' I was actually in the kitchen preparing some stuff,” said Perkins.

She has managed the Summer Meals Program at TEAC over the summer for five years.

Perkins leads a team of ten summer food service workers who prepare hot and cold meals for the children in Orange County.

According to School Nutrition Supervisor Linda Blair, just last month, the program was able to feed more than 5,000 children.

"We provide breakfast and lunch and send out summer school breakfast and lunch and if someone has a field trip, we will provide them with a lunch,” said Perkins.

The Summer Food Service Program, better known as the Summer Meals Program, is administered at the federal level by the USDA’S Food and Nutrition Service.

The Summer Meals Program has run for almost six years and aims to provide nutritious meals to children who may struggle to receive a meal during the summer months when school is out.

"We don't know the last time they got something, the last time they had somebody smile at them or even give them a home-cooked meal,” said Perkins.

She considers it an accomplishment to do the two things she loves, cooking and feeding children.

"Just knowing that I was able to provide them with a decent hot meal, [it] just warms my heart,” said Perkins.

No Kid Hunger Virginia helps local sponsors launch sites and funds needed equipment like mobile meals trucks. The nonprofit also provides best practices to help sites reach more youth.

In addition, No Kid Hungry Virginia runs a summer texting service so that families know about neighborhood meals site.

No Kid Hungry is a national campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty.

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