Food bank to offer free warm meals to children at 7 sites this summer

The Second Harvest Food Bank is back to pre-pandemic operations where children must stay on site to eat their meal.

The Second Harvest Food Bank plans to serve between 700 and 1,000 meals to children a week in Clark, Champaign and Logan counties this summer as part of the Summer Food Service Program.

This year the food bank is back to pre-pandemic operations, and children will only be offered lunch — not breakfast — and must stay on site to eat their meal, said Tyra Jackson, executive director of SHFB.

The food bank served between 1,500 and 2,000 children a week last year amid the pandemic, but anticipates lower turnout this year due to the requirement of children staying on site to eat. Before the pandemic, the food bank served about 400-500 children each week.

The nonprofit has teamed up with community organizations such as libraries, youth centers, churches, and other groups to provide free warm meals for children to eat on site, which will designate a day to distribute the extra produce and protein to take home a weekend bag that will also include juice and milk.

Each site will take attendance, as they must account for every meal distributed. For the weekend bags and produce, there is a registration sheet for the child’s information.

The program has changed this year due to coronavirus pandemic waivers of free meals expiring at the end of this month.

This year will be different as the past two years had waivers in place to allow for safety of the programs, Jackson said. This included allowing adults to pick up pre-packaged breakfast and lunch for the week for children, and a flexibility as to where sites could be located.

Now since it’s back to pre-pandemic operations, the food site must qualify by having at least 50% of the children in that area on free or reduced lunch, Jackson said.

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“When children are out of school for summer, parents and guardians often struggle with replacing the two meals the children would have receive at school,” she said. “We know this year will be an adjustment due to the waivers ending but we want to encourage each household that can’t make it to these sites to please call the SHFB. We will find a way to get food into the households that need it.”

The summer food program is funded by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), and the protein, produce, and weekend bags are funded through the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. The nonprofit also received funding from The Community Health Foundation to buy additional produce, and any additional expenses are covered by the food bank with general funds.

“We will see an increase in uncovered expenses due to inflation. The cost to transport and purchase the meals have increased,” Jackson said.

The food bank also continues to recruit volunteers to assist with packing and sorting, Jackson said. She said they have a group of dedicated volunteers that help each week but do need more help for distributions and sorting projects.

If anyone is interested in donating funds to help cover summer feeding, they can contact the food bank at 937-325-8715, extension 112 or 102; and anyone who wants to volunteer to help serve at the sites can call the same number, extension 101.

The meals are being provided at seven sites in the tri-county area on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from June 14 through August at:

  • Brentwood Square, 175 W. Brent Drive in Springfield: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 18.
  • YMCA, 2430 Van Buren in Springfield: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 18.
  • Clark County Public Library, 201 S. Fountain Ave. in Springfield: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. through Aug. 18.
  • Shamrock Recreation Center, 1051 E. Main St. in Springfield: 12 to 1 p.m. through Aug. 18.
  • St. Paris Library, 127 E. Main St. in St. Paris: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 4.
  • Quincy United Methodist Church in Logan County: 12 to 1 p.m. through Aug. 11.
  • DeGraff Park, 101 Pleasant St. in Logan County: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 11.
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Several school districts in Champaign County will also offer meals to children during the summer months, while others are not providing that option.

Urbana City Schools will offer free meals to students in the district through the Summer Feed Program. As part of that program, students will be able to eat a breakfast or lunch meal on site at several locations.

Through Aug. 12, breakfast is from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Urbana PreK-8 building, 1673 U.S. Highway 68; and breakfast is from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch at 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Champaign YMCA, 191 Community Drive.

Through Aug. 5, lunch is from 10:20 to 10:45 a.m. at Gwynne Village Apartments, 719 Mosgrove St.; from 10:50 to 11:15 a.m. at North Elementary, 626 N. Russell St.; from 11:25 to 11:50 a.m. at Urbana High School, 500A Washington Ave.; from 11:55 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. at Barbara Howell Park, 213 E. Market St.; and from 12:50 to 1:15 p.m. at Rolling Hills MHP, 5579 Springfield Urbana Pike.

Both Triad and West Liberty-Salem will provide students with free lunch every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 12 at the Meadows Community Building in North Lewisburg, the Municipal Building in Woodstock, or The Grove in West Liberty.

Springfield, Clark-Shawnee, Northeastern, Southeastern and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village schools will not offer summer meals.

“The district encourages students and families to utilize other valuable community resources such as the Second Harvest Food Bank’s mobile distributions and pantries if they are in need,” said Springfield Superintendent Bob Hill.

Although Mechanicsburg is not offering summer meals, they offer a food pantry that provides boxes of food to the community on a regular basis including meats, fresh items and non-perishables.

To find a location in the area where free meals are available during the summer, visit the ODE website and search for Ohio Summer Food Service Program.


Summer Meal Sites:

Clark County -

  • Brentwood Square, 175 W. Brent Drive in Springfield, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 18.
  • YMCA, 2430 Van Buren in Springfield, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 18.
  • Clark County Public Library, 201 S. Fountain Ave. in Springfield, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 18.

Champaign County -

  • St. Paris Library, 127 E. Main St. in St. Paris, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 4.
  • Gwynne Village Apartments, 719 Mosgrove St., from 10:20 to 10:45 a.m. through Aug. 5.
  • North Elementary, 626 N. Russell St., from 10:50 to 11:15 a.m. through Aug. 5.
  • Urbana High School, 500A Washington Ave., from 11:25 to 11:50 a.m. through Aug. 5.
  • Barbara Howell Park, 213 E. Market St., from 11:55 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. through Aug. 5.
  • Rolling Hills MHP, 5579 Springfield Urbana Pike, from 12:50 to 1:15 p.m. through Aug. 5.
  • Urbana PreK-8 building, 1673 U.S. Highway 68, for breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Aug. 12.
  • Champaign YMCA, 191 Community Drive in Urbana, for breakfast from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. through Aug. 12.
  • Meadows Community Building in North Lewisburg from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays through Aug. 12.
  • Municipal Building in Woodstock from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays through Aug. 12.
  • The Grove in West Liberty from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays through Aug. 12.

Logan County -

  • Quincy United Methodist Church from 12 to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 11.
  • DeGraff Park, 101 Pleasant St. from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays through Aug. 11.

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