New this year, the committee has added weekend food distribution to qualified fifth- and sixth-graders, which means an additional cost of about $10,000 to the budget.
Committee members are in the process of creating a community fundraising campaign to “feed a child” for $100 per year to support this initiative. “This concept will resonate with the public and provide a credible and achievable source of funding from both private individuals and area businesses,” said a release quoting committee members. “The Freight House has also agreed to assist us with our fund-raising efforts. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Freight House will give Weekends without Hunger a portion of the profits they receive from everyone who eats there.”
A committee of community members, initially organized by former Norwalk City Schools Superintendent Virginia Poling, found in its research that more than 51 percent of Norwalk students in kindergarten through 12th grade continue to qualify for free and reduced fee meals based upon federal guidelines. The committee plans to continue to address the hunger needs of eligible kindergarten through sixth-grade students in both the Norwalk Catholic and Norwalk City schools during the 2018-19 school year.
Parents of elementary students who currently are on the free or reduced fee meal program received a letter explaining the Weekends without Hunger program. Parents must sign the form and return it to their child’s school in order for their child to qualify to receive the food each week. Beginning on Oct. 19, a select group of volunteers began distributing the bags of food. All of the food items are purchased through Second Harvest Food Bank.
The cost to provide 12 items of healthy food for each child for the weekends during the school year has risen to slightly more than $100 per child. The money donated for this sixth year of operation goes entirely to pay for the food from Second Harvest. All other costs of this program have been in-kind donations. The Salvation Army provides a similar program during the summer months and Weekends without Hunger continues to seek to bridge the two programs to ensure childhood hunger is addressed year-round in our community.
As a non-profit organization, Fisher-Titus Foundation serves as a fiscal agent for the program. FTMC officials said they believe this program addresses a true community need as identified in the 2017 Huron County Community Health Assessment. They fully support the mission of the “Weekends without Hunger…Feeding our Future” initiative which is to ensure that Norwalk’s elementary students who qualify for free or reduced fee meals are fed on the weekends throughout the school year.
For further information contact Judy Sommers at [email protected] or Reta Stark at [email protected] Community members wishing to make a donation should make checks payable to Weekends without Hunger, c/o Fisher-Titus Foundation, 272 Benedict Avenue, Norwalk, Ohio 44857 or an on-line donation can be made using this site: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/givetowwh.