ELYRIA – A federal official who toured the Second Harvest Foodbank of North Central Ohio and Elyria’s Boys & Girls Club of Lorain County Tuesday touted both as having model programs when it comes to keeping hungry children fed during the summer months when free or reduced-price meals are not available to them in schools.
Audrey Rowe, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, praised the Elyria club’s summertime meals program for seeing that needy children are fed not only during the week, but on weekends through the foodbank’s backpack program that provides some 750 food-filled backpacks to youngsters to get them through weekends when sources of meals are not available.
“It is an innovative program for steps such as having parents volunteer so many hours a week,” Rowe said.
Still, Rowe remains troubled by the rising need for such programs.
“The need is always greater than what can be provided to meet it,” Rowe said.
Which is why she was spreading the message for increased partnerships between meals programs and local businesses and foundations in Lorain County as well as at Cleveland’s famed West Side Market, and other Northeast Ohio locales.
“This is a community responsibility,” Rowe said.
Rowe smiled as she described the scene at the Elyria Boys & Girls Club as “organized chaos.”
“This is the kind of program that makes sure these kids are not in the streets,” Rowe said. “They have a place to go. Our visits are to get a sense of how these programs are running and their importance to those who use them.”
Read more in Wednesday’s Chronicle-Telegram.