Tag Archives: Ohio

Cleveland Plain Dealer oped on nuclear weapons

President Donald Trump can be a peacemaker and lead the world in eliminating nuclear weapons. Or he could lead us into a dangerous nuclear arms race.

If he looks to history, the president will see that mutual disarmament can be in our best interests. This year marks the 200th anniversary of a disarmament agreement that unfolded in Cleveland’s own backyard.

See my full article at the Cleveland Plain Dealer



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Christmas in July Arrives for Ohio Charity

Summer is a tough time for St. Vincent de Paul, a leading charity fighting hunger in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hunger rates are high where St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati operates, well above the national and state averages according to Feeding America.

But donations go down during the summer compared to the holiday giving season. With schools closed, many needy children lose access to the free lunches they get during the academic year. Impoverished families need even more help during the summer months.

While St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati has been struggling with this summer crisis, outside the city a different problem has been taking place at Burwinkel Farms of Ross, Ohio.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post:

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Kasich a Champion for Hunger Relief

The coming primaries will decide who the Republicans will nominate for President. They would be wise to look to someone who can tackle issues of great national and international importance like hunger. For America usually goes with the candidate who shows leadership in feeding the hungry. John Kasich has.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

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Ohio hard hit by SNAP cuts

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the state is losing ground in the fight against hunger. More than two million Ohio residents are needing help from the state’s emergency food bank system.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Hunger in Ohio: an update

Ohio’s rate of hunger is 16 percent according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s latest study. These are families and individuals that struggle to buy food. Their nutrition levels are reduced because they cannot purchase the best foods.

Read the article at Examiner.

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Ohio school to host hunger summit

Hunger is a major issue both at home and abroad. Nationally, there are 49 million people who are “food insecure.” Food stamps have been reduced by Congress placing a great strain on the Feeding America network.

Read the article at Examiner.

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Ohio Farm Feeds the Hungry, Prevents Food Waste

Burwinkel Farms donates food to the Holy Family Church Food Pantry in Price Hill, an agency part of the Freestore FoodBank network fighting hunger in the Cincinnati area.

Burwinkel Farms donates food to the Holy Family Church Food Pantry in Price Hill, an agency part of the Freestore FoodBank network fighting hunger in the Cincinnati area.

For Burwinkel Farms of Hamilton, Ohio the work day starts early picking corn in the fields. The “corn is as high as an elephant’s eye” is the famous lyric from the musical Oklahoma. Karen Burwinkel, the manager of the farm, says they cannot quite confirm this for they have never had an elephant visit.

What Burwinkels can say for certain is they have delicious corn and other yummy fruits and vegetables. Each summer morning, trucks are loaded with food to be taken to its locations across the Cincinnati area.

Burwinkel Farms is a summer tradition, one that has been operating since 1918.

Very quietly too Burwinkels is helping fight hunger in the community. Hunger is a silent, but serious crisis in the Cincinnati area. Feeding America says that 18.5 percent of the county’s population suffers from hunger. Among children the “food insecurity” rate skyrockets to 21.1 percent.

Burwinkels is helping out. For produce not sold, they make sure it is not wasted. Once a week, Burwinkels donates food to the Holy Family Church Food Pantry in Price Hill.

Diana Penick, who manages the pantry, says they have helped 7,170 families in need during the past year. She says, “In the past year we served 20,366 people. Not bad for a small church pantry!” The pantry is part of the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank system.

Burwinkels makes these donations during the summer months, which is most critical. Donations to food pantries often drop off during this time period compared to the holiday season. Also, during the summer many children lose access to the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. Summer feeding is available in some locations but has not reached anywhere near the coverage provided during the school year.

Burwinkel Farms makes its donation to Holy Family through its Delhi location on Sundays. This has been ongoing since last year. You can even stop by and “purchase” food to be added to the donation each week.

Hunger in America is a growing crisis, with more than 50 million people impacted. Tough economic times are here and the Congress is threatening to reduce the food stamp program (SNAP) which will place even more pressure on already overstretched food banks.

Following Burwinkels example is to waste no food, and do what you can to support hunger relief. That great summer delight of corn is something more than a nutritious food, but also brings hope to those in need.

For more information visit www.burwinkelfarms.com and also their Facebook page.

originally published at Cincinnati.com.

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What’s At Stake in Duck Regatta – The Tri-State’s Response To Hunger

The 18th annual Rubber Duck Regatta is this Sunday, September 2nd at 3pm. The ducks will be dropped from the Purple People Bridge into the Ohio River where they will begin a race along the Serpentine Wall. You can purchase a duck to compete in the race.

There is much at stake with this event, the largest single fundraiser for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.

The Freestore provides emergency food aid for the hungry in the Tri-State. They depend on donations both from the public and the government. Hunger is a huge crisis in the area. A Feeding America study showed that in Hamilton County over 18 percent of the population suffers from hunger, or food insecurity.

This summer’s drought is having an impact on the cost of food, placing a further strain on the hungry and charities. However, the worst may be yet to come. The Department of Agriculture says the impact of food prices in stores “typically takes several months to occur, and most of the impact of the drought is expected to be realized in 2013.”

If food prices rise more people will fall deeper into hunger, having even less ability to put food on the table. Others who may be struggling to get by will also need food assistance. The Freestore will need all the support it can get to help those in need.

In addition, Congress is planning to scale back food stamps, which at a time of rising food prices and high unemployment is a recipe for disaster.

Fundraisers for the Freestore take on a great urgency when you consider the potential hunger crisis that is fast gathering.

The Freestore says, “For just $25 – the price of six ducks – the Freestore Foodbank can feed a family of four for an entire week.” You can help out the Freestore and buy a duck at their web site until 2 pm eastern time Sunday, September 2nd at www.freestorefoodbank.org


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Summer Feeding Means Summer Learning

This summer the Cincinnati Public Library is hosting summer feeding programs at many of its branch libraries (Cincinnnati Public Library photo)

This summer the city of Cincinnati is trying to ensure that no child goes hungry. This is especially critical with Feeding America‘s recent report that over 25 percent of children suffer from hunger or “food insecurity” in Ohio.

Free meals for children ages 1-18 are being distributed at a number of sites across the city including Cincinnati Public Library branches.

Lisa Hamrick, the manager of the North Central Library branch, says, “I believe we have been incredibly successful in serving lunch to children who might otherwise not eat throughout the day. In fact, many of the children coming to eat lunch arrive at the library when we open at 10:00 (they are actually standing outside waiting for the doors to open) and many days they don’t leave until after 6:00 pm – occasionally they stay until we close at 9:00 pm.”

The North Central branch has served 625 meals to children so far this summer. In fact, according to Hamrick, children are discovering new foods like pita bread, green pepper slices, pears and liking them, a possible exception being hummus.

The US Dept of Agriculture, Cincinnati Public Schools, the Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati Cooks, and other partners are providing the food for these library feeding programs.

Here’s some feedback on how the library summer feeding plan is going throughout the city. Diane Smiley, the Youth Services coordinator for the Public Library says, “The results are still mixed at this point. Several of our locations are drawing sizable numbers of children while others are having smaller numbers than we’d like so far.”

As is the case with the North Central branch the summer meals are leading to increased use of libraries. Smiley says, “many of our branches participating in the summer lunch program are encouraging the kids to also participate in the Library’s annual summer reading program.”

Debby Carrico, the manager for Elmwood Place library branch, says, “We have noticed an increase in use of the library both for circulation and use of our computers. Program attendance has gone up some as well, since they usually follow the lunches. ”

The Elmwood Place branch is seeing around 10-12 children daily receive the meals. Carrico adds, “Parents sometimes come with the children to help supervise and this is a plus because we rarely see the parents at this branch as they are working several shifts to survive financially. This has been a GREAT service to this neighborhood.”

Drew Pearson, the branch manager for the Bond Hill Library branch says, “we have seen increases in library use as well as Summer Reading participation. This summer our lunch program has averaged 18 participants a day…..Many of the children and teens who have enjoyed the free lunch have listened as staff promoted the opportunity to win prizes for reading. The grand prizes this summer have been very enticing.”

The link between summer food and reading and learning is strong. Tony Fairhead, the director of Childhood Food Solutions (CFS), works to bring summer feeding to hungry children in the Cincinnati area. CFS provides food to students at the Roll Hill Academy. Fairhead says, “Without summer food, we can’t really imagine the children will be able to return to school ready to learn. I think that summer food explains why we have seen this improvement from 25% to 76% for the vitally important third grade reading proficiency.

Fairhead explains, “Teachers provide the academics and Childhood Food Solutions, along with partners like Walmart, makes sure the kids have the nourishment they need during the summer break. We have been tracking reading and math proficiency and test achievement has been increasing since CFS began providing summer food. At Roll Hill, third grade reading proficiency has increased from 25% to 76% since summer food began in 2008.”

Fairhead says these results led the assistant principal at Roll Hill to exclaim two years ago, “Academics + Food = Achievement!”

The charity our Daily Bread, located in downtown Cincinnati, does not host an official summer feeding site but they do have a program called the Kids Club. It’s an after school program for children ages 5-13 and it runs during the summer as well. Children can get a meal, computer access and do arts and crafts projects. The charity relies on donations from the public to offer these programs.

Natalie Fields, the manager of the Deer Park library branch, says, “We serve an average of 10 children a day. Happily, some of those children are staying to attend library programs, participate in the Library’s Summer Reading Program, and use the Library’s resources. I’d say our overall library use and program attendance have seen a small increase so far as a result of the Summer Lunch Program.

Joan Luebering of the Sharonville branch says, “we do see a few new faces” using the library since the summer feeding began. Ned Heeger-Brehm of the Groesbeck branch library notices some new patrons as well since the start of summer feeding. Denise Scretchen of the Deer Park branch library notes the positive impact of the summer feeding with about 15-20 children attending every day it’s offered.

Liz Anderson, the children’s librarian at the Reading Branch Library, says they are serving about 10 children a day with meals. On one day they had as many as 28 children attend. She has noticed some increased use of the library especially when parents arrive with their children.

Frank Dugan, the manager of the Corryville Library, said that more kids came to library programs as a result of the summer feeding while it was offered. The Corryville branch, as well as some others, discontinued their summer feeding for lack of attendance.

There are issues that need to be addressed to determine how future summer feeding should take place and where. It must be determined why low attendance might occur at one site but not another. In some cases it may just be a case of awareness of the summer feeding availability.

With the summer heat though sometimes libraries lose out on attendance. For instance the Pleasant Ridge library branch had small figures of attendance for summer feeding. David Dukart, the manager of the Pleasant Ridge Library, said that they fed 20 children on a few days but most others they were in the range of 4-8 in attendance. However, the nearby Pleasant Ridge Pool’s summer feeding site served 256 meals in the first week of July alone. Regardless of where the meals are offered its vital they are available.

With school out children in need lose access to the free and reduced prices lunches offered through the national lunch program. But distribution of food during summer becomes a problem with schools closed. With hunger on the rise in Cincinnati and throughout the country it becomes vital to make sure safety nets are in place for the vulnerable.

The need for safety nets like school feeding will become even more important with the expected increase in food prices from this summer’s drought. If you can combine this need with learning it makes for a productive combo.

As Smiley says, “We hope to feed both their bodies and their minds!”

Hamrick says, “as challenging as this has been for us, it is also rewarding to have kids we know wouldn’t eat lunch, let alone a nutritious lunch, eat and leave with a smile because they are full and content.”

Starting this week the North Central branch and others will also be adding a “backpack” component. This is a special package of non-perishable food that children can take home to use over the weekends when the summer feeding at the library is not available.

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Cincinnati Libraries Starting Food Backpack Program

Seven Cincinnati Public Library branches will be giving out weekend backpacks of food to children as part of the summer feeding program. (Deer Park Library branch photo)

Seven Cincinnati Public Library branches will be offering backpacks of food for children to take home on weekends. The backpack program starts this Friday, July 20th.

The weekend backpack program is in addition to the summer feeding taking place at these library sites on weekdays. During the summer needy children lose access to the school year lunch and breakfast programs. Summer feeding is needed to fill in the gaps especially with child hunger rates exceeding 25 percent in Ohio.

The Freestore Foodbank is providing the funding for the weekend backpack program. For more information contact the participating libraries listed below:

Deer Park Public Library (3970 E. Galbraith Rd. Cincinnati OH 45236) 513-369-4450

Elmwood Place Public Library (6120 Vine St. Cincinnati OH 45216) 513-369-4452

Forest Park Public Library (655 Waycross Rd. Cincinnati OH 45240) 513-369-4478

Groesbeck Public Library (2994 W. Galbraith Rd. Cincinnati OH 45239) 513-369-4454

North Central Public Library (11109 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati OH 45231) 513-369-6068

Reading Public Library (9001 Reading Rd. Cincinnati OH 45215) 513-369-4465

Sharonville Public Library (10980 Thornview Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45241) 513-369-6049

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