Ohio

Eye on Education

Snow Days Mean Some Kids Miss Meals

school lunch eric langhorst

ERIC LANGHORST / FLICKR

The idea of another snow day gets many kids excited.

But for those who depend on school for a free or reduced price hot breakfast or lunch, another snow day could mean another day of scrounging for food.

Andy Chow with the Statehouse News Bureau reports the Ohio Association of Foodbanks is taking note of how the bad weather may leave many children hungry.

“I have to tell you my heart sinks when I wake up in the morning and I start to see the huge number of school closings,” says Lisa Hamler-Fugett,the group’s executive director.

“I know that that’s another day that too many children in our state—some 800,000 children—who rely on a free breakfast or free lunch program in our schools are going to go without that critical food that they need to engender an active, healthy life,” she says.

As ideastream’s Tony Ganzer found in his interview with Shaker Heights Superintendent Gregory Hutchings,the number of kids likely to miss meals is just one of many factors schools may consider when deciding whether or not to close for the day due to the bad weather.

Chow reports the bad weather has especially impacted schools in southeastern Ohio:

The most recent data from the Department of Education says more than 1,300 kids at Vinton County Local Schools rely on these meals. So far that district has had 16 snow days.

Athens City Schools has shut down for a total of 15 days, leaving more than 1,100 students without free or reduced meals. And Jackson City Schools, which has more than 1,400 students on the program, has had 11 snow days.

The USDA does not allow school meals to be delivered or transported off of school grounds, and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks has asked them to reconsider.

Meanwhile, a volunteer management program in Appalachian Ohio is helping community groups find alternative ways to deliver food to kids who need it.

 

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