Paula Nyika-Makore, Children’s Hunger Alliance board member, and Judy Mobley, CHA president and CEO, distributing meals at Westwood Elementary. Photo provided
By Rick Jardiolin
Children’s Hunger Alliance
Elected officials joined the staff of Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to help distribute grab-and-go meals to kids at Westwood Elementary School. The statewide nonprofit, dedicated to feeding food-insecure children, is partnering with CPS to provide the supper meal to students for free at seven schools during distance learning.
These extra meals will supplement the free breakfasts and lunches provided by CPS to ensure children continue to have access to food while the schools operate remotely. Every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m., children may pick up CPS’s five-day remote meal packs – containing five breakfasts and five lunches – plus seven additional meals provided by CHA at select school buildings.
“It’s an honor to be here today in Westwood and be a part of the great work that Cincinnati Public Schools and the Children’s Hunger Alliance are doing. For families who depend on school meals to feed their children, these weekly distributions make all the difference, especially during these tough times. It is important that children have the resources they need to succeed including a good meal,” State Rep. Catherine Ingram said.
Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said, “I am excited to join the Children’s Hunger Alliance and Cincinnati Public Schools to help distribute meals to children at Westwood Elementary School while students are learning remotely. This partnership will provide much-needed food so that our kids continue to learn and thrive during this difficult time.”
In March, when Governor DeWine announced the statewide shutdown of schools in response to the pandemic, Judy Mobley, president and CEO of CHA, had to quickly determine how they were going to continue feeding children that were losing access to meals. Mobley and her staff began mapping meal sites looking for gaps in impoverished communities where kids’ needs were not being met. As a result, the agency established grab-and- go meal distribution sites in partnership with many community organizations.
Today’s site visit took place at Westwood Elementary School, where 100 percent of the enrolled children qualify for free or reduced-price meals, putting them at higher risk for food insecurity.
The other CPS buildings where CHA’s suppers are being distributed include Chase Elementary School, Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Hartwell Elementary School, Mt. Airy Elementary School, Rees E. Price Elementary School, and Rockdale Academy. CHA is working with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and Images of Excellence to help staff these locations.
Since the pandemic shutdown, CHA has served over 1.2 million meals at over 180 meal sites across Ohio.
Also present were Cincinnati City Councilmember Greg Landsman and Cincinnati City Councilmember Betsy Sundermann.