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AARP encourages Ohioans to fight hunger

September is Hunger Action Month, and as part of our national Drive to End Hunger, AARP Ohio is asking everyone throughout Ohio to take action to fight hunger in your community.

A little can do a lot in the hands of your local food pantry.

A report released the first week of September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service shows that in Ohio, 15.5 percent of households were food insecure at some time during the year between 2009 and 2011, compared to 14.7 percent nationally.

That ranks Ohio as 11th worst in the nation, with 4.58 million individuals struggling to afford food.

The report also shows 6.4 percent of Ohio households experienced very low food security compared to 5.6 percent nationally, making the state eighth highest in the nation.

According to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, between April 1 and June 30 of this year, Ohioans made more than 2 million visits to pantries statewide to secure the basic food necessary for themselves and families.

Very low food security is a reality for one of six households in Ohio, according to the USDA.

Many of the Ohioans who are least food secure are older citizens living on fixed incomes.

When the cost of utilities, rent, medicine and other basic necessities rise, many times older Ohioans don’t see any other option than to buy less and cheaper food.

The poor nutrition that often results puts their physical health and mental well-being at risk.

This reality is the reason that AARP Ohio is sponsoring food drives during Hunger Action Month.

The AARP is asking members and other community residents to help fight senior by hunger by donating non-perishable canned goods or boxed food that is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats, and high in whole grains, protein and nutrients.

The food donated will stay in the community to provide meals for your neighbors.

Scioto County Food Drive

Friday, Sept. 7 through Monday, Sept. 17

• 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

• New Boston Community Center, 3980 Rhodes Ave., New Boston

• Potter’s House, 5409 Winchester Ave., Sciotoville


Richland County Food Drive

• Saturday, Sept. 15 through Saturday, Sept. 29

• 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

• Bellville Neighborhood Community Center, 84 Main St., Bellville

• 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday

• Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, 262 Charles St., Mansfield


Ashtabula County Food Drive

• Monday, Sept. 17 through Saturday, Sept. 28

• 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday

• Country Neighbor Program Inc., 39 S. Maple St., Orwell

• 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Monday through Friday

• Salvation Army, 4631 Main Ave., Ashtabula