The Second Harvest Food Bank is working with several schools and community agencies to offer weekend meals to students and children.
“We reached out to all the school districts and especially schools that have high rates of free and reduce lunches. Children receive breakfast and lunch during the school day, and the weekend bags provide the same during the weekend to ensure they don’t miss a meal,” said Tyra Jackson, Executive Director of SHFB.
Some of the places that the food bank offers meals to in Clark County include: Clark County Public Library; Cliff Park High School; Early Childhood Education Center; Greenon; New Carlisle Elementary; Northwestern Elementary School; Springfield Children’s Center; and Springfield City Schools including Lagonda, Fulton, Lincoln and Perrin Woods.
The Clark County Public Library will be a distribution site for the BackPack Program, which is a weekly program that provides a backpack full of food for children ages one to 18 to take home on the weekends.
The distribution sites and times are:
Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Main Library, 201 S. Fountain Ave.
Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Park Branch, 1119 Bechtle Ave.
Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Village Branch, 1123 Sunset Ave. and at the Enon Branch, 209 E. Main St.
Some places that the food bank is helping in Champaign County includes: Champaign County Library; Mechanicsburg High School; Triad Elementary School; Urbana Youth Center; and West Liberty-Salem Elementary.
Vickie Hoffman, Triad’s Superintendent, said the food bank started offering weekend meals to their students earlier in September.
“We are proud to partner with the Second Harvest Food Bank organization. We always look for ways to support our families and the community,” she said.
Triad students as well as Mechanicsburg students will get a package or box that contains two breakfasts, two lunches and snacks for each weekend.
“We are very fortunate to be a part of this outside resource. Mechanicsburg is very passionate about making sure our students are taken care of in and outside of school. It’s important for us to come together as a community and try to meet the needs of our students and families,” said Crystal Canfield, Mechanicsburg K-8 school counselor.
Jackson said the food bank is writing grants and applying for government funds to help assist with the purchase of meals.
“The child hunger rates in our service area (Clark, Champaign, and Logan Counties) are higher than the state and national average. When children do not receive food, it is hard for them to be prepared to learn, concentrate, and have a productive day. The weekend bags and our other children feeding programs are designed to assist families and households to provide meals to children daily,” she said.
Graham is a district not partnering with the food bank for this program, but is working with them to establish a community food pantry.
“We are in the process of establishing a full food pantry in our district in partnership with the SHFB that will be open to the community twice per month,” said Assistant Superintendent Emily Smith. “Our administration and support staff will have access to the food bank through the month to assist with Graham families in need of immediate support and food needs. This partnership has been in the works for over a year, and we are anticipating a possible roll out in November or December.”
By the numbers
21%: Number of children living in poverty in Clark County in 2019
11.1%: Number of children living in poverty in Champaign County in 2019
18.1%: Number of children in Ohio living in poverty in 2019
Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center