The federal Summer Food Service Program is designed to provide free lunches to needy children during the months when school is out, but less than 10 percent of those eligible in Ohio are participating.

In some cases, it’s a lack of awareness about the program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in this state by the Ohio Department of Education.

In other cases, it’s a lack of available sites to provide the meals.

There are more than 1,700 locations in 77 of Ohio’s counties, but 11 counties — including Harrison and Holmes — have no sites to serve meals. Tuscarawas and Carroll counties each have one location to serve their residents, while Coshocton County has four sites in the city of Coshocton.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, held a press conference Wednesday to alert Ohioans about the availability of the program.

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