By Frank Lewis
Community Action Organization of Scioto County is operating 17 sites to feed children during the summer months, and on Thursday U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced his co-sponsorship of the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act, bipartisan legislation that would increase access to summer federal child nutrition programs.
According to data released by the Ohio Department of Education, more than 680,000 Ohio children received free or reduced-priced lunch on an average day; however, many students miss out on this nutrition assistance in the summer months.
“Summer break shouldn’t mean a break from good nutrition,” Brown said. “Summer meal programs provide the nutrition assistance for children that they would normally receive in school, ensuring their healthy development and easing the burden on their families. By investing in and improving these critical programs, we can help ensure that Ohio’s children don’t go hungry in the summer months.”
The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would authorize summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to supplement existing summer nutrition assistance programs, and give states the option of providing eligible families with up to $30 per summer month per child to purchase eligible food items. In United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot programs, Summer EBT reduced the most severe forms of food insecurity for children by 33 percent.
“The Ohio Association of Foodbanks and our partners are working everyday to get critically needed replacement meals to poor children during the summer months when schools are closed,” Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said. “The summer months leave over 800,000 of Ohio’s poorest and hungriest kids to suffer needlessly due to outdated service delivery requirements and legislative barriers to reaching kids who live in areas that are isolated economically and geographically. We look forward to working with Senator Brown and others to archive real solutions and reforms that modernize child nutrition programs and work to end childhood hunger in 2015. Hungry children can’t wait! We urge support for comprehensive Child Nutrition Reauthorization provisions without debated.”
Locally the sites are located at the 14th Street Community Center, Bloom-Vernon Elementary School, Center Street United Methodist Church, Green High School, Lett Terrace, the McKinley Pool, New Boston Local Schools, New Boston Manor, Northwest Elementary School, Outreach, Porter Township Community Park, Portsmouth Elementary School, Potter’s House Ministries, Rockhaven, Sciotoville Elementary Academy, Valley Elementary and Wayne Hills.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.