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Report: 1 out of 10 Eligible Ohio Children Receiving Summer Meals

summer food photo
summer food photo
June 12, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When it comes to keeping low-income children from going hungry during the summer months, a new report finds Ohio is falling short. The report ranked Ohio 37th among states in participation in summer food programs.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, last year in the state more than 844,000 children were enrolled in the free or reduced-price school lunch program. But the executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, says only a fraction of them are getting adequate nutrition during the summer months.

"This summer, unfortunately, only about one out of every ten of those children will be reached through a summer food service program, primarily due to a lack of sponsors and sites within communities where low-income children and their families reside."

Hamler-Fugitt says it's not too late, however, to ensure that hungry children benefit from food programs this summer. Local groups, schools, faith-based, or not-for-profit organizations interested in becoming food program sites are encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Education, so they can be connected with potential sponsors.

Hamler-Fugitt says the continuing fallout of the recession has left many families stretching budgets as far as they can. She says the result has been more and more parents turning to food pantries and soup kitchens across the state.

"We know through the national school lunch program that for many low-income hungry children, those are the only meals they can rely on. So, we have got to get more programs out across the state to ensure that our children have at least one healthy, wholesome meal a day."

Families can find nearby summer meal sites by calling 1-855-570-7377.

The report is available at www.oashf.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH