Children’s Hunger Alliance Recognizes Providers and Programs that Serve Ohio’s Food-Insecure Children with Excellence
During the 23rd Annual Menu of Hope luncheon on Thursday, February 22 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Children’s Hunger Alliance will recognize its providers and programs of the year. These child care providers, recreation centers and schools are working with Children’s Hunger Alliance to meet the needs of Ohio’s food-insecure children on a day-to-day basis. We are grateful for their partnership and recognize their dedication to providing healthy meals to Ohio children.
Child Care Provider of the Year
Charlene Harris of Warren, Ohio, has cared for children in her home for more than 27 years. Because she builds relationships with the families whose children she cares for, she is aware when financial problems strike and food is scarce. She has had several children in her care try to hide food so they can eat it at home. Charlene offers three healthy meals and two snacks each day to the children in her care – she believes no child should ever face hunger. To further help fill the food gap, Charlene created an organic garden and helped the children plant seeds, care for the garden and pick vegetables when they ripened. She noted the children were more likely to eat the vegetables because they helped grow them. She also provided the vegetables to children’s families to take home. Thank you, Charlene, for the genuine concern and excellent service you offer the children in your care.
Day Care Center Program of the Year
All in a Day Child Care – Dana Brown, Owner
Dana Brown, owner of All in a Day Child Care in Columbus, Ohio, was concerned for the children in her care who would bring lunches from home that lacked fruits, vegetables and nutritious foods. After partnering with Children’s Hunger Alliance, she began using a caterer to prepare hot lunches that meet USDA meal patterns so she can ensure all the children in her care are eating well-balanced meals. Dana recognizes that many children do not sit down to dinner around a table each night, and so she helps her kids learn table manners and encourages them to talk about the new foods they are eating. Dana also invited our registered dieticians to lead EatPlayGrow, a nutrition education and physical activity curriculum that teaches preschoolers how to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. Congratulations, Dana, for operating a child care program that puts healthy eating among its top priorities.
School Breakfast Program of the Year
Newark City School District – Doug Ute, Superintendent
Newark City Schools worked with Children’s Hunger Alliance to increase school breakfast participation. After successfully piloting breakfast in the classroom in the spring of 2016, the district decided to make breakfast more accessible for all of its students. In the 2016-2017 school year every Newark student was offered a free school breakfast – and the elementary school children were able to bring the food into the classroom to enjoy at the start of the day. The results were phenomenal with 1,400 additional students on average served each day – which meant 250,000 more breakfasts were eaten during the year. Teachers and administrators report student behavior and attentiveness improved while visits to the nurse’s office with complaints of headaches and stomachaches declined significantly. Thank you, Newark, for ensuring that no child will have to sit in class trying to learn on an empty stomach.
Afterschool Program of the Year
Clark Recreation Center, City of Cleveland
Cleveland school children head to Clark Recreation Center afterschool for a safe place to enjoy sports, swimming, a computer lab and fun enrichment activities. Children are also able to eat a hot meal at the center which for some children may be their last meal of the day. Clark Recreation Center has partnered with Children’s Hunger Alliance for more than seven years. The staff goes above and beyond to make children feel welcome. They encourage them to eat a healthy meal, try new foods and vegetables the children may not be accustomed to, and enjoy an array of fun activities. The center is being recognized for its safe, friendly environment, caring staff and commitment to children’s wellbeing. Congratulations to Clark Recreation Center!
Summer Nutrition Program of the Year
Switzerland of Ohio Local School District – Jeffrey Greenley, Superintendent
The Switzerland of Ohio Local school district in Monroe County is the largest geographical district in Ohio, covering 546 square miles. Over the summer, the 60 percent of students who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year were unable to access free meals because there was no transportation to get children to feeding sites. The school had not offered summer meals since 2014, but that changed in 2017 when the school district worked with Children’s Hunger Alliance to strategize the most efficient way to deliver meals to kids in need. The school used three vehicles to travel over 150 miles daily to deliver 350 meals a day, or 18,500 meals at 12 different sites last summer. Congratulations to Switzerland of Ohio for making such a significant impact in a single summer.