MEIGS COUNTY — State and regional officials made a stop on Monday at one of the summer food distribution site in Meigs County, helping to pass out meals, as well as sports equipment and books to children in the county.
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) and State Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) joined the staff of Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) distributing free grab-and-go meals to children at the Rutland Church of the Nazarene earlier this week.
Rep. Edwards, stated, in a prepared news release, “The work of Children’s Hunger Alliance is crucial in ensuring children are receiving the nutritional support they need and is having a positive, meaningful impact in Southeast Ohio.”
According to the CHA, the estimated number of food-insecure children in Ohio increased to over 700,000 (1 in 4) during the pandemic in comparison to 500,000 (1 in 5) before COVID-19, based on projections provided by Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The spike in childhood hunger rates — caused by the public health crisis — prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend grab-and-go flexibilities though the end of September, allowing for summer nutrition programs to benefit more children in need.
To help close the hunger gap for underserved children, the statewide nonprofit expanded its summer nutrition program this year by adding sites in Meigs County. In addition to the site in Rutland (Monday-Thursday, 11:15-11:45 a.m.), CHA is operating sites at the Riverside Church of the Nazarene (Monday-Thursday, 10-10:45 a.m.), Fellowship Church of Nazarene in Long Bottom (Monday-Thursday, 1:15-2 p.m.) and the Portland Community Center (Monday-Thursday, 2:30-3:15 p.m.).
“The summer break is a time when many disadvantaged children are at greater risk of experiencing hunger as they lose access to school and afterschool meals they rely on for their daily nutrition,” stated CHA President and CEO Judy Mobley in the news release. “We know that many families are still recovering from the pandemic and these meals are critical for their children.”
Also in attendance at the event were members of Mission: Readiness, a national organization made up of retired admirals, generals and other top military leaders joining forces to strengthen national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble so they are better prepared to serve their nation in any way they choose.
Congressman Johnson stated in the news release, “As a 26-year veteran of the United State military, I understand firsthand the link between nutrition security and national security. It is important that nutritious food be accessible for our children and families. It’s wonderful to see organizations coming together here in Rutland to serve the needs of our children, and I am especially gratified to see our retired military leaders speaking out on this crucial issue.”
In addition to meals, the group distributed “sport in a bag” filled with a variety of sports equipment from the Lindy Infante Foundation and books books provided by the 2nd and 7 foundation.
Information provided by Children’s Hunger Alliance.