Columbus, OH (January 23, 2019) – Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA), a statewide non-profit dedicated to improving food access to children living in poverty, presented a Child Advocacy Award to State Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) for her support of childhood hunger initiatives. The senator was instrumental in helping the organization secure $2.35 million funding in the state biennial budget (Am. Sub. HB 166), which will play a critical role in sustaining and expanding the work CHA does to feed children.
The award presentation took place at Agape Academy, a childcare center in Hilliard, located in the 16th Ohio Senate District which Kunze represents. Standing in front of the audience of board members and community partners while surrounded by children, Judy Mobley, CHA President and CEO, said, “Our work to provide meals to our most vulnerable citizens can not be done alone. We all have Senator Kunze to thank for her support of our work and support of funding in the state budget. This funding will allow us to reach more children across Ohio.”
Upon receiving her award, Kunze said, “I am very humbled to receive this honor from an organization that is recognized as a leader in our state working to improve the lives of children. I was a former elementary school secretary and I saw firsthand kids that came to school hungry. It was a blessing to help advocate for Children’s Hunger Alliance in the state budget so that they can continue helping meet the needs of at-risk children across Ohio.”
Over 500,000 – or one in five – Ohio children are food-insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from. The mission of CHA is to improve access to food for children at-risk, so they have a better chance of becoming productive adults and breaking the cycle of poverty. Through its mission, CHA’s work includes:
- Providing meals through partnerships with childcare centers and in-home family providers as well as afterschool programs
- Increasing school breakfast participation and improving access to summer meals
- Providing childhood nutrition and physical education
- Advocating for policies that benefit Ohio’s youngest citizens
Immediately after the award presentation, Kunze and others in attendance distributed new winter coats to the children. When each child’s name was called out one by one, they walked up and delightedly accepted their new coat, tried it on and went back to their seat still wearing their new coat. 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 generously provided additional winter coats and accessories donated by their customers.
“This is such a great partnership between the Governor’s office providing the winter coats and Children’s Hunger Alliance helping childcare centers serve healthy meals,” Kunze said. “Giving kids a little bit of an extra boost for the basic necessities, like food and a winter coat, makes a huge difference for kids living in poverty.”
Agape Academy cares for over 100 children ranging from infants up to pre-teens. Nikki Barren, the center’s director, said that since Agape Academy recently became a CHA partner last September, the initial assimilation presented some challenges as staff had to learn new routines and serving guidelines. “Like any new thing, you get used to it and things become easier. The partnership has been beneficial, both financially and nutritionally for our center. We now provide our children with more variety of higher quality, healthier food. It’s just been great having Children’s Hunger Alliance as a partner and it’s worth the small challenges that we’ve overcome.”
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 the welfare of Ohio’s youngest citizens and teaches nutrition and physical education to those they serve.