Brown touts summer food program for Ohio families

Published 10:11 am Friday, June 10, 2016

Senator was author of bill extending school lunch programs

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is helping to spread the word about a summer nutritional program available to families in need.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, the senator touted the Summer Food Service program, which distributes free breakfasts, lunches and snacks to children at sites throughout the state, helping to fill the gap left when the academic year ends and free and reduced lunches are no longer available through schools.

For too many others, it means stress over how to care for children while parents work, or how to feed children nutritious meals without the school lunches they count on throughout the rest of the year,” he said.

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Brown said the program, which has grown annually since its inception is providing a valuable service, and his office wants to remind Ohioans about its availability. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he authored legislation which extended the school lunch programs into summer.

“Every year, we work to get the word out about the Summer Food Service Program, so that families know the end of the school year doesn’t mean an end to food services for their children,” he said. “Because summer break shouldn’t mean going hungry.”

Brown was joined on the call by Wendi Huntley, of Toledo, who is the director of development at Feed Lucas County Children, Inc. and serves as the spokesperson for Summer Meal Partners of Northwest Ohio.

Brown spoke of the success she has had in getting food to children in her region, which included providing 264,680 meals and snacks to children in the Greater Toledo area supporting 150 meal sites in Toledo in 2015.

“The Summer Food Service Program helps to fill the gap for so many of our most vulnerable residents,” Huntley said. “It is during the summer months when those who especially rely on breakfast and lunch during the school year, stand in need of our help.”

Huntley said that, in addition to providing food to the children, the sites in her area also offer learning experiences. Brown said that these types of opportunities are important for disadvantaged children who don’t have the same resources as wealthier children to continue their education during the summer months.

Huntley said that the program also has teams, who make use of mobile shelters, which work to distribute the meals to rural areas, where the children may face transportation in getting to the sites.

There are several sites in Lawrence County taking part in the program, which runs Monday-Friday through Aug. 14. The program will not operate on Friday, July 1. More information can be found at 1-866-348-6479.

Meals will be provided at the following sites:

• Lawrence Village Apartments — 12-1 p.m.

• Ironton Middle School — 8:30-9:30 a.m. (breakfast); 12-1 p.m. (lunch)

• Ironton High School — 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

• Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority — 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

• First Baptist Church in Ironton — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

• Collins Career Center — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

• Chesapeake United Methodist Church — 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

• Burlington Common Park — 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

• Storm Creek Apartments — 12-1 p.m.

• Rock Hill Schools — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Anyone wanting to sponsor a site can find information on the Ohio Department of Education’s website.