The Ohio Association of Foodbanks said today it's requesting additional funding from the state to fight hunger.
"The threat of hunger is very real for far too many Ohioans, including children going without adequate nutrition, adults working for low wages or still struggling with unemployment and seniors living on fixed incomes,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the association.
A new report released by the Food Research and Action Center showed hunger on the increase within Ohio. During 2011 the food hardship rate, not having enough money to buy food for your family, was 19.8 percent. During 2012 this rate increased to 20.5 percent. The state is ranked 17th nationally for highest food hardship. Dayton, Ohio is ranked 4th nationally among Metropolitan Statistical Areas in terms of food hardship.
Hamler says, "This report demonstrates again what we are facing as a hunger relief network—unprecedented demand for help with the basic necessity of food. We join today with our agricultural partners and member foodbanks to urge state policymakers to adequately respond to the hunger crisis in our state.”
A major concern is the upcoming summer months when children will lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs. Governor John Kasich recently authorized funding for summer feeding but tremendous gaps in coverage remain.
Kevin Concannon, US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Food, says, "The nutrition gap low-income children face when school is out of session underscores the need and importance for USDA's summer meal opportunities. We anticipate bolstering this investment by working to increase the number of sites where disadvantaged Ohio children can receive a meal in a constructive, safe environment."