food program ensures Latino kids eat healthy
By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent
June 17, 2014: Latino children and others have an opportunity to
obtain free nutritious meals this summer at nearly 100
neighborhood sites across Lucas County. More than 400,000 meals
are expected to be served while school’s out for the summer in
The Summer Food Program combines federal funds
administered by the
Ohio Dept. of Education with community donations. Locations
of the meal sites are based on proximity to schools in which at
least 50 percent of the students receive free or reduced-cost
lunches during the school year, which includes all but four TPS
“It’s critically important to feed our kids healthy, nutritious
meals. We see the health effects of hunger in our pediatric
offices and emergency rooms every single day,” said Stephanie
Chihon, ProMedica community outreach coordinator at a
press conference held at Rogers High School Wednesday, June 18,
“The Summer Food Program is making a difference in our community
and we hope to make even more of an impact this summer,” said
Dr. Romules Durant, TPS superintendent.
Sites are staffed with a combination of paid staff and
volunteers and will serve one or more meals, including
breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and/or an early dinner,
depending on the location. The food will meet state guidelines
and include: milk, fruits, vegetables, grains/bread, and meat.
The lunchtime meal during the press conference consisted of a
sandwich, carrots, a banana, milk or orange juice, and
“Anytime you can get this type of collective work from the
community to address a collective problem, such as summer hunger
and summer enrichment, it’s a win-win: a win for the district, a
win for the community,” said Dr. Durant.
“In Lucas County, more than 26,000 kids are facing food
insecurity—and that means they may not know where their next
meal is coming from,” said Laura Roether, health manager
for the United Way of Greater Toledo.
Academic enrichment will accompany the free meals at 26 Toledo
Public Schools (TPS) sites. The so-called “summer slide,” where
students tend to regress on what they’ve learned during the
school year, is recognized to be especially prevalent in
“Data shows that children who are not typically able to
participate in enrichment classes, camps, field trips, and other
family activities during the summer lose up to three months of
the learning as they re-enter the fall year,” said Dr. Bruce
Groves, a board member for the YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo.
ProMedica, Mercy Health Partners, The Andersons, local food
banks, and others have provided funding and staff support to the
annual summer feeding program, which also includes recreational
activities for kids.
community outreach coordinator for Molina Healthcare, one
of five managed-care plans in Ohio, presented the gathering with
a $5,000 check to help provide more meals for needy kids, who
usually rely on breakfast and lunch served at school.
The program will run until August 15. Any family interested in
participating can learn more by dialing 211.