Star City Reads, Roanoke’s collaborative grade-level reading campaign, recently received national recognition for its Feed and Read program, according to a news release.
Roanoke was one of 16 Pacesetter winners across the nation, a designation given by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a national collaborative effort to ensure more children from low-income families succeed in school, according to the release. The Pacesetter communities “exemplify extraordinary vision and best practices,” according to the release.
“At this challenging time, we have much to learn from each other,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the campaign. “These Pacesetter communities are leading the way in these impact areas that we know matter. We congratulate them for this achievement and encourage our entire network of over 350 communities to learn from them.”
Feed and Read, in partnership with Feeding Southwest Virginia and Roanoke Public Libraries, provides children free meals, books and activities. The Pacesetter designation recognizes the program’s expansion in 2019. The program served 37,491 meals to Roanoke children in 2019 alone; over 105,000 meals have been served since 2014, according to the news release.
“The Libraries’ amazing partnership with Feeding Southwest Virginia has helped us expand Feed and Read to include afterschool and weekend meal service,” said Sheila S. Umberger, director of Roanoke Public Libraries and lead of the Star City Reads initiative. “This fills a previously unaddressed need: children’s hunger outside of school. We are proud to play this important role in helping more children be able to succeed.”