MOH 24-114


Contact: Melanie Ryan
Director, Communications & Marketing
Children’s Hunger Alliance

Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) hosted their annual event, Menu of Hope, on March 7, 2024, and raised nearly $500,000 to help provide meals to Ohio’s hungry children. The event featured stories about how Children’s Hunger Alliance and their partners are working every day to make a difference in the life of a child experiencing food insecurity. 

This year’s special guest was TEDx presenter and inspirational speaker Alex Sheen, who is the founder of Because I Said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept.  Alex shared several stories of those that influenced his life and how promises kept have a positive impact on our communities. He and his organization decided to make a substantial gift to CHA and the Year-Round Food Access program.

CareSource, a supporter of CHA since 2007, was presented with the 2024 Community Impact Award.  CareSource corporate and the CareSource Foundation have invested nearly $1.2 million dollars in CHA since becoming a partner. Two years ago, they moved into making multi-year commitments that benefit CHA from a dollar and strategic planning perspective  Most importantly, they have provided unrestricted funds so that CHA can fill the gaps as needed and make a greater impact.

CHA’s President and CEO, Michelle Brown, along with CHA Governing Broad Chair, Aaron Ockerman, presented Legislative Child Advocacy awards to Senator Nicki Antonio (23rd District) and Representative Jay Edwards (94th District).  Senator Antonio, Ohio Senate Minority Leader, has been instrumental in making sure CHA has state funding to provide food for children. She has visited several of CHA’s partner sites to see how the meal programs are supporting the children in the Cleveland area.  As the chair of the Ohio House Finance Committee, Representative Edwards has been integral in making sure CHA was not only included in the 2024-2025 biennial budget, but also received an increase in support. He has visited many breakfast programs, weekend meal, childcare, and summer program sites in his district.  These two public officials are valuable partners with CHA and champions for Ohio’s youngest citizens.

Also honored at Menu of Hope, were the 2023 Program of the Year recipients:

  • School Breakfast Program of the Year – Mad River Local Schools, Montgomery County
  • CHA and Mad River Local Schools have had a relationship for over 12 years with a variety of programming. Nearly five years ago, the middle school adopted a Breakfast in the Classroom model, which ended up increasing breakfast participation and proved beneficial in preparing students for the day. Building on this success they have implemented breakfast programs throughout other buildings in their district.
  • Afterschool Program of the Year – Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio – Steve Wise Club, Summit County
  • During the pandemic the Steve Wise Club, located in Akron, began partnering with CHA to distribute ready to eat meals. Children come to the club five days a week from surrounding Akron schools for afterschool care, at which they are given nutritious meals and snacks. The staff are full of energy and welcoming to every child in their care.
  • Summer Program of the Year – Blanchester Public Library, Clinton County
  • Blanchester Public Library began partnering with CHA in 2022, to get assistance in providing summer meals to area children. From their strong compliance efforts to creating their own program advertising and systems; our work together has been incredibly effective. CHA is having a great impact in the Blanchester area due to their drive to create a fun, safe, and enriching food service at the library.
  • Childcare Center of the Year – Itsy Bitsy Daycare, Fairfield County
  • Itsy Bitsy Daycare opened during the pandemic and began partnering with CHA in 2021 when they needed help to remain open to serve the community. They offer a variety of foods, and encourage the children to try new foods. The staff works to seek resources so that the center can provide the best activities for their families and offer nutrition education opportunities.
  • In-Home Provider of the Year – Charlotte Walls – Kids Cover Childcare, Muskingum County
  • Charlotte Walls offers an in-home daycare setting, and has been working with CHA for over seven years. She and her husband provide a fantastic daycare environment, and are well known in their area. They are well organized, professional, and offer a kid-friendly educational space. Charlotte takes the nutrition education she learns and passes that on to the families of the children in her care.
  • Weekend Meals Program of the Year – West Mount Elementary, Franklin County
  • Tyfini Mcgowan, Reading Intervention Specialist at West Mound Street Elementary, connected with CHA in 2022 to obtain weekend meals for the students at her school where 100% of the students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. Every week over 300 students are benefiting from the program, and going home on the weekends with much needed nutrition.

Presenting patron of Menu of Hope was The AEP Foundation. Other major patrons were ABC 6/ FOX 28, Kroger, Bob Evans Farms, The Champion Companies, Discover Financial Services, Nationwide, CareSource, Champion Food Service, Grange, Hexion, Huntington, LeadingEDJE, M & O Property Solutions, The Robert Weiler Company and US Bank.

Nearly 400,000 children in Ohio are struggling with hunger and do not know when they will have their next meal.  CHA partners with over 1,300 organizations throughout the state to provide millions of meals annually to at-risk children. Funds raised through events like Menu of Hope support the programs that provide access to food for children and help them live a healthy life.

Other Details

Menu of Hope Event Photos

Menu of Hope Video Presentation

About Children’s Hunger Alliance

Since 1970, CHA has worked to ensure that children across Ohio have access to the food they need to live a healthy life. Through their work, CHA provides healthy meals to hungry children, advocates for the welfare of Ohio’s youngest citizens, and teaches nutrition and physical education. For more information, please visit Follow us on Facebook – @CHAohio, Instagram – @childrenshungeralliance, and LinkedIn – @chaohio.


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