News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Akron General

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


Activists want summer food programs set up now to help feed kids who may go without.
Activists want summer food programs set up now to help feed kids who may go without.
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Courtesy of KAREN KASLER
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
This horrible winter weather seems finally to have given way to warmth and sunshine, and that has many people looking ahead to summer.

But as Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports, for some, that’s not about putting together summer vacation plans, but about considering how they’re going to meet a basic need during those months away from school.
Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:29)


More than 840,000 school-aged children -- 44 percent of those enrolled in public and private schools around Ohio -- are eligible for a free- or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program. Not all of them get free or lower-priced food. But Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Food Banks says in some parts of the state, nearly all the kids are in those school food programs. 

“We’ve got a lot of districts, especially at the elementary level, where nearly seven out of 10 are currently receiving a free or reduced-price meal,” Hamler-Fugitt said.

But last summer, when school was out, one in 10 of those kids got the breakfasts or lunches they received during the school year. Activists are now working on the reasons why 90 percent of kids who could get that free food in the summer aren’t getting it. Hamler-Fugitt says Ohio’s food pantries and soup kitchens served over 850,000 children last summer. 

Emergency alternatives
“If we don’t have a summer program in those communities, then they’re turning more frequently to the emergency food assistance network, and we don’t have it,” Hamler-Fugitt said

Marion’s food-service program is considered a success. Last year’s program was set up at 16 different sites and served 1,200 kids a day. That’s about 35 percent of the eligible children, and that number was double the previous year’s. Winnie Brewer with the Marion City Schools says this year’s challenge is to get more community partnerships for activities, which aren’t paid for by federal dollars, and to make sure those kids know about them. 

“Sometimes they think, 'That’s just for ... maybe a lower-income or whatever," Brewer said. "But it’s not. So when they see different opportunities there, and they see activities going on, then it becomes OK to go to these, especially for the older teens.”

Need grows in some areas
But in some counties, 35 percent isn’t a successful number because there are so many children to reach. More than 90 percent of kids in Jackson County are eligible for school food programs.

Susan Rogers directs RSVP of the Ohio Valley, which covers eight counties with widespread poverty and serious transportation challenges. There’s no public transit and many families have only one car. Last year, the summer food program served 1,500 kids in two of those counties and a few in a third county. This year, they’re adding a fourth county with food-service sites, and are continuing to deliver hundreds of boxes with a week’s worth of food to churches, grange halls and other places that are more accessible to rural families.

But Rogers says the organization has been running into another obstacle. 

“We have a lot of folks that say, ‘That’s kind of charity and I really don’t want that charity,' and helping them to understand that this is something that is provided for the benefit of the kids, and it’s not that handout," Rogers said. "I think they’re afraid that it’ll be seen that they can’t take care of their kids.”

The income gap
On the opposite end of the economic scale is Medina County. Sandy Calvert is with the two-person crew that comprises Feeding Medina County, which boasts 300 volunteers. One is her husband, former Republican Rep. Chuck Calvert. Sandy Calvert says her group is serving 460 kids a week at 12 elementary schools with bags of food sent home on Friday afternoons.

Calvert says Medina County has the largest gap between the top and bottom level income earners, and residents are realizing that. 

"We’ve really tried to educate people that it is their friends and neighbors who’ve found themselves in either a situational poverty issue or, that it isn’t always just generational.”

Calvert says last year she set up a summer-food program with local funding to avoid some of the federal government’s rules, which she found overwhelming. But activists say they need to start setting up those programs-- with the federal government’s help or not -- especially since many counties have only a single or a few summer food service sites. And 13 counties in Ohio, some of them among the state’s poorest, don’t have a single summer food service program.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The postal workers union is challenging mail-sorting closures in Ohio
Do not close the akron facilaty for mail processing. This will severly deminish mail service to the northeast ohio area, Cleveland can not handle this burden.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park OK's sharpshooters to thin deer herds
In this article you mention that the Mule Deer Foundation is a "hunting group" in reality the Mule Deer Foundation is a conservation group that is over 25 years...

Clarence Bozeman: In the driver's seat of history
I believe he was a teacher of mine as James Ford Rhodes. My favorite teacher of all time! Loved learning this part of his amazing history.

Cleveland RTA is moving Public Square bus stops beginning this week
I am very confused. Why are you taking one or more of the park and ride 246 out of service in the morning. I looking over the new schedule I see that there ar...

Canton school board will vote Wednesday on its high school merger
Great to see that THE REPOSITORY is advising a 'no' vote for now! Another point, besides all the Very accurate points already made against this move is the fac...

Some parents opting their students out of Common Core test
I am an 8th grader at a school in Allen County. I have just recently taken the ELA performance based assessment and found it extremely difficult. It asked me a ...

Fallout from the Ohio Supreme Court Munroe Falls ruling
The comment by Nathan Johnson from OEC is confusing. Instead of cities being 'emboldened' to craft zoning laws that were just stricken down by this ruling, comm...

Stopping sediment dumping in Lake Erie
Ah, yes, the Army Coro of Engineers, the geniuses that designed the levee system in New Orleans that has made the flooding worse due to no sediment reaching the...

Ohio charter school critic says reform bills are a good step
The cold truth is that these charter schools are offering services beyond the what the state tests can guage. Parents and students have a choice and they are ch...

State law trumps restrictions on oil and gas drilling in Munroe Falls
Justice O'Neill's quote brings up a point I wish WKSU would address: since, unlike for Federal judges, our judges here in Ohio are elected, and therefore respo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University