Children’s Hunger Alliance was recognized for their work helping Eastern Local Schools improve summer food access in Pike County.
Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA), a statewide non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Ohio, received an Outstanding Partnership Award from Eastern Local School District (ELSD) for their work helping the district feed more children during the summer months.
ELSD hosted the Eastern Business Awards dinner to recognize individuals and organizations – like CHA – striving to uplift children in their community.
According to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” report, the childhood food-insecurity rate for Pike County is disproportionately higher at 24% versus the state’s average at 20%. This means that one in four children in Pike County are food-insecure and do not know where their next meal will come from.
Superintendent Neil Leist emphasized that his district is the 11th highest school district in the state for poverty. Standing in front of over 100 attendees, Elementary School Principal Matthew Hines said, “Food is a barrier. I know people don’t want to believe that, but food is a real need for kids in our district.” Hines then introduced Assistant Superintendent Lance Allen and recognized him for his role in launching their summer food program through a partnership with CHA. Hines added that the summer food program was a success, allowing them to feed many children at three different sites.
Mr. Allen commented that the evening’s theme was love and community support for their students. Allen thanked Sonja Hill-Powell, CHA’s Senior School and Summer Nutrition Manager, for the many hours they spent discussing the opportunity to feed at-risk children during the summer months. For children relying on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be a very stressful period as school meals are no longer available.
With the guidance of Hill-Powell and a generous grant from CareSource, Allen launched the district’s summer meal program at the school and two other sites, Beaver’s First Baptist Church and Stockdale United Christian Church. The summer meal program operated from June 2 through Aug. 4 and served almost 3,000 meals free of charge.
Before presenting the award to Judy Mobley, CHA’s President and CEO, Allen said, “I want to thank you, Judy. All
of our kids and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Standing next to Allen, Mobley was moved by his words of gratitude. She accepted the award and addressed the crowd. “I can’t tell you how humbling it’s been to sit here tonight and hear how much you care about your kids.” Mobley said, “Thank you to CareSource who funded this initiative. We are thankful to have a governor and first lady who are making children’s issues a priority. We were fortunate to be included in this year’s state budget which will help us continue our current work and expand to reach more children across Ohio. Thank you all for this honor tonight and for recognizing the work that we do. We really do appreciate it.”
ELSD plans to continue the summer food program next year with continued support from CHA. Allen said in his earlier remarks, “When you hear about the summer feeding program next year, please encourage your children to come. It doesn’t matter about your socio-economic status. If you’re hungry, please come.”
About Children’s Hunger Alliance: Founded in 1970, Children’s Hunger Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Ohio. Through their work, Children’s Hunger Alliance provides healthy meals to hungry children, advocates for the welfare of Ohio’s youngest citizens and teaches nutrition and physical education to those they serve.
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