Volunteers filling gaps in summer food service to low-income kids

Youngstown Vindicator

YOUNGSTOWN

About 800,000 Ohio children receive free and reduced-price lunches at their schools, but only 10 percent of those students receive that sustenance during summer months.

“Summer break can mean a break in good nutrition,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, during a teleconference Wednesday.

Brown called the teleconference to discuss the Summer Food Service Program which ensures that students who depend on nutrition assistance through the school lunch program don’t go hungry during summer months.

Because of state budget cuts, though, fewer sites offer the program than last year. About 1,100 Ohio sites are offering the program this year compared to about 1,500 last year.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, said VISTA and Americorps volunteers will work at the sites this summer.

“They will determine where gaps exist and what the barriers are,” she said.

In Mahoning County, 36 percent of children received free or reduced lunches in 2009. About 89 percent of children in the Youngstown City School District though, are eligible for the program.

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Volunteers filling gaps in summer food service to low-income kids »