MIDDLEPORT — Children at Munchkin City received warm coats on Monday afternoon during a visit from the Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) and State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville).
CHA and Rep. Edwards took part in the visit not only to hand out the coats, but to focus attention on how CHA-sponsored childcare centers are helping provide healthy meals to children in high-need neighborhoods. According to the CHA, over 75 percent of the enrolled children qualify for free or reduced-price meals putting them at greater risk for food insecurity.
The coats were provided by the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives through Operation Warm. Fado Pub and Kitchen in Dubin also provided additional winter coats and accessories donated by their customers. Edwards handed out the coats to each of the children, helping them to try on their new coats.
CHA is one of the largest statewide sponsors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) which provides reimbursements to daycare centers assisting them in providing healthy meals to the children they care for.
Munchkin City Daycare in Middleport, which is operated by Serena Larsen, currently serves 54 children. The day care provides services to children from birth up, including school age children who are at Munchkin City after school.
CHA Director of Government Affairs Scott Neely and CACFP specialist Mary Lantz were on hand on behalf of CHA.
Neely explained that the CHA works with more than 1,000 facilities with USDA programing to provide meals for children. Munchkin City is the first day care facility in Meigs County to be part of the program which provides meals and snack for the children at the day care.
Neely spoke of the work of Representative Edwards in helping to get funding for programs into the state budget, helping the children of his district and the state.
Edwards commented that it is important to see first hand the work that is being done and see where the funding filters down to, having the hands on experience and seeing how happy the kids are. After handing out the coats, Edwards spent time with the children as they had a snack, following by dancing and singing.
By providing the coats, the hope is that it will eliminate an expense for parents who may have to choose between purchasing coats or food and other necessities.
“While new coats will certainly keep children warm, they will also help families eliminate this expense allowing them to focus on purchasing other essentials like food. Lack of proper nutrition negatively impacts a child’s ability to grow and learn, and ultimately limiting their ability to become a productive adult and break the cycle of poverty,” stated the CHA.
About Children’s Hunger Alliance
Founded in 1970, Children’s Hunger Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Ohio. Through their work, Children’s Hunger Alliance provides healthy meals to hungry children, advocates for legislation to improve the welfare of Ohio’s youngest citizens, and teaches nutrition and physical education to those they serve.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.