CINCINNATI, OHIO (Jan. 10, 2019) – Children are going hungry. According to Feeding America, 22-percent of children in Ohio (under the age of 18) are living with food insecurity, experiencing limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food. The YMCA, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, is launching a weekend food program for children in the West End. Beginning in February, the Carl H. Lindner YMCA, located at 1425B Linn Street, will offer a free Saturday lunch for children.
“Addressing food insecurities in the West End has always been a priority for the Y and other West End partners who currently provide food pantry service throughout the week,” said Carl H. Lindner YMCA Executive Director Paula Sherman. “Having a free weekend lunch program, together with other pantry programs, not only provides the nutrition children need for healthy development, but it helps to ensure that children will have food over the weekend and return to school on Monday ready to learn.”
The Y and Walmart launched a similar program at the Gamble-Nippert YMCA in Westwood in January 2018. “We provide meals to the children in our preschool and school-age programs through the week, but having the free lunch program on Saturdays for kids makes a real difference for the families in our community,” said YMCA Group Vice President Sara Overstake. The Gamble Nippert YMCA feeds lunch to up to 50 children every Saturday afternoon. “It’s nice to know that my kids can get a free lunch at the Y on the weekend, especially since they spend so much time there with sports and other activities,” said one parent.
Feeding America reports that children facing hunger may struggle in school, experience language and developmental issues and exhibit social and behavioral problems. “When kids are hungry, we have a responsibility to give them food and every other resource they need to succeed. It is how we strengthen our communities and our future,” said YMCA of Greater Cincinnati President and CEO Jorge Perez.
For more information about the free Saturday lunch program at the Carl H. Lindner YMCA, call 513.241.9622. For more information about the Saturday lunch program at the Gamble Nippert YMCA, call 513.661.1105.