Advocate for the Needs of At-Risk Children

Children’s Hunger Alliance educates lawmakers about childhood hunger in Ohio and its devastating consequences on our children and communities.

On behalf of Ohio’s children, our staff:

  • Meet with local, state, and federal lawmakers and their staff to brief them on childhood hunger issues and solutions;
  • Communicate with the Governor’s office regarding hunger issues;
  • Testify before committees to advocate strongly on issues; and
  • Engage state and federal agencies, especially regarding how child nutrition laws are being implemented.

The goal of our public policy work is to encourage state and federal leaders to refine public policy and ensure that every child has access to healthy food, quality child care, and safe afterschool environments; as well as the opportunity to learn about proper nutrition and the benefits of physical activity.

We also work with local program partners and school districts to ensure they are maximizing their use of federal nutrition programs that are proven to help improve childhood wellness by reducing hunger, improving overall nutrition and reducing obesity.

Contact Scott Neely, Director, Government Affairs at or call 614-643-8005 for more information.

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Call or write a letter to your elected officials about childhood hunger in Ohio.

Learn About the Impact of Childhood Hunger in Our Communities

  • More than 750,000 Qualify for free or reduced-price school meals but more than 575,000 do not eat breakfast at school resulting in unclaimed federal funds. (1)
  • 25% = Families report they did not have enough money to buy the food they need. (2)
  • 35% = 3rd graders considered to be overweight or obese. (3) Obesity is a symptom of hunger.

Hungry Children Cannot Learn

  • Hungry children are twice as likely to receive special education services doubling the cost of their education.(4)
  • Hungry children are twice as likely to repeat a grade. The cost of educating a child retained in a grade, and receiving special education services, can be nearly 4 times as much as other children. (4)
  • Children from homes without enough food have significantly lower reading and math scores. (5, 6)
  • Hungry children are more likely to have problems with absenteeism and behavior. (7)
  • As teenagers they are twice as likely to have seen a psychologist and twice as likely to have been suspended from school. (6)
  • Children having difficult social interaction, lower grades and repeating a grade are at greater risk of dropping out (7) resulting in lost earning power – $500,000 less than a high school graduate, $2 million less than a college graduate. (9)
  • Young children from food insecure homes are 3.4 times more likely to be obese by age 4.5. Obese adolescents are more likely to perceive themselves as below average students and boys are more likely to quit school. (10) The estimated cost of obesity-related disease management for 6-17 year-olds in 2003 was $127 million. (11)
  • Pre-school children living in food insecure homes are more likely to suffer Early Childhood Caries, a dental disease. (12) Treatment can cost $1,500 – $6,000 per child – $38 million/year, nationally for children through age 17. (13)

Child Nutrition Programs Are the Solution

  • Proper nutrition during the formative years, birth to 5, improves health and readiness to learn. (14, 15) CACFP assists family childcare providers to ensure that pre-school children have nutritious meals to eat while in daycare.
  • Eating nutritious foods and increased physical activity reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity. The Healthy Kids – Healthy Schools collaborative is assisting schools to improve the nutritional quality of foods served at school and increase opportunities for physical activity within the school day.
  • Eating breakfast, particularly a school breakfast, improves performance on demanding mental tasks, behavior and attendance (16) – all key indicators on Ohio’s school report card.
  • More than $26 million/year in additional USDA reimbursements could be generated by increasing participation in the school breakfast program to 70% of the children who participate in school lunch.

(1) FRAC School Breakfast Report 2017 (2) Gallup Survey, (3) Ohio Dept. of Health, (4) Shelly – 2004, (5) Jyoti – 2005, (6) Alaimo – 2001, (7) Murphy – 1998, (8) Population Survey 2007, (9) Boston Youth Transitions Taskforce – 2006, (10) Dubois – 2006, (11) Goran – 2003, (12) Beltran-Aguilar – 2005, (13) Vargas – 2006, (14) Burden – 2007, (15) Lozoff – 2003, (16) Bellisle – 2004

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