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Ohioans Urged to Pitch In for Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month, and research shows hunger is a concern for one in four children in Ohio. (Donny Ray Jones/Flickr)
September is Hunger Action Month, and research shows hunger is a concern for one in four children in Ohio. (Donny Ray Jones/Flickr)
September 19, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Millions of Ohioans are all-too familiar with the struggle of waking up with a growling stomach and knowing they will have nothing to eat. September is Hunger Action Month, which challenges people to join the fight to eradicate hunger.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks' executive director, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, said that despite being a solvable problem, hunger continues to touch millions nationwide.

"Some 48 million Americans, including 15 million children, suffer from the scourge of hunger,” Hamler-Fugitt said. "And in our great state what we see is nearly 2 million Ohioans, or one in six of our friends and neighbors, who suffer from hunger."

An estimated one in four Ohio kids lives in a household considered food insecure.

Hamler-Fugitt said the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the first line of defense, and said that strengthening it - along with school meal programs - would go a long way towards helping those in need. She also said she believes that public policies supporting working families, including a higher minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit, can help prevent hunger.

Addressing hunger is not a partisan issue, she said. And the Kasich administration in Ohio has strongly supported innovative nutrition programs that reach vulnerable kids.

"Children who live in areas that are isolated economically and geographically, we bring to them the governor's summer feeding program, with a weekend backpack, innovative home-delivered program, and fresh farmers market,” Hamler-Fugitt said.

Poverty and food insecurity are both slightly down, but Hamler-Fugitt said much more could be done. She encouraged Ohioans to get involved in fighting hunger.

"Think locally, act locally,” she said. "Be involved by advocating, raising awareness, volunteering or donating your time, your talent or your treasure."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH