Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, June 12 newspaper on Page A1.
JACKSON — When school lets out for summer vacation, low-income children lose access to school breakfast, lunch, and after-school snacks. In an effort to fill this gap, summer feeding programs were established to provide free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise go hungry.
In Ohio, summer food service programs provide sponsoring agencies reimbursement for nutritious meals and snacks at sites that meet eligibility requirements when school is not in session. These programs are administered by the Ohio Department of Education.
Locally, RSVP of the Ohio Valley and TLC Ministries are two sponsoring agencies that provide around 20 feeding sites in Jackson County. All children ages 1 through 18 are eligible to receive free meals during the summer months at participating program sites.
RSVP of the Ohio Valley held a summer meals kickoff bash in Jackson’s Manpower Park on Friday, May 31. The event featured music, a large inflatable, pizza, face painting, games, and giveaways.
“We are looking for volunteers who are willing to help us both with site-based lunch programs in Jackson and Scioto County, and weekly rural delivery of food boxes to children in Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, and parts of Vinton, Pike, Lawrence, and Ross counties,” stated COAD/RSVP of the Ohio Valley Director Susan Rogers. “The rural routes reimburse mileage.”
Rogers added, “These programs make such a huge difference in the lives of so many of our low-income children who depend on breakfasts and lunches at school for their nutritional needs, and often go hungry in the summer without supplemental food.”
In addition to the summer feeding sites, there are summer weekend meals that are being distributed as well. Those meals include two pre-packed breakfast meals, four pre-packed lunch/dinner meals, and two 8-ounce white milk. For more information about the weekend meals call 740-286-4918.
To find out more about the summer feeding sites, such as times, days, and locations, visit http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/Food-and-Nutrition/Summer-Food-Service-Program.