The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

September 12, 2013

Children Services wraps up successful summer food program

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Ashtabula County Children Services has wrapped up another successful summer food program.

The nine-week program kicked off in June at 27 locations throughout the county. The number of food sites was down this year, compared to last year, because some areas did not qualify this year, said Kathryn Whittington, community services coordinator.

To qualify as a food site, the school district must be at 51 percent in free or reduced lunches, she said.

This year, the program served 33,784 meals, 9,775 were breakfast and 24,009 were lunch, Whittington said.

The program is funded through the Ohio Department of Education as an extension of the school feeding program.

“For many children who receive free or reduced meals during the school year, this program provides their breakfast and lunch for the summer,” said Tania Burnett, executive director. “Our dedicated summer staff, Youth Opportunities workers and volunteers worked very hard to ensure that the children were fed and had the opportunity to participate in various enrichment activities throughout the summer.”

In conjunction with the summer food program, Children Services teamed up with the Ashtabula Kiwanis Club to host the “Bikes for Breakfast” giveaway at five of the food sites.

The more the children came to breakfast, the more chances they had to win.

“The kids would come and eat breakfast at those locations and put their name in for a chance to win a bike,” Burnett said. “Some of the kids came every day.”

Burnett said the kids could not get a ticket until they ate their breakfast, which encouraged them to eat.

Each of the five winners received a new bike, helmet and bike lock, thanks to the Kiwanis Club’s $500 donation, Whittington said.

“We are very thankful for the Kiwanis donation this year,” she said.

Children Services recently started its parenting classes for the year. Classes started this month and a different class is offered each month, Burnett said. The organization will also be teaming up with Wal-Mart and the local early intervention program to host a community baby shower for expecting parents.

“Being a part of community events and helping families is a big part of what we do,” Burnett said. “Anything to help strengthen families, we want to be involved in.”

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