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Children's Hunger Alliance Delivers Free Meals To Columbus Students

ginther cosi food.jpeg
Children's Hunger Alliance
Mayor Andrew Ginther, COSI and the Children's Hunger Alliance teamed up to distribute science kits and free meals to Columbus students on April 1, 2021.

COSI and Children’s Hunger Alliance gave hundreds of science-learning kits and free meals to 125 students on Thursday, as part of an effort to keep kids engaged and fed during spring break.

Every student at Columbus City Schools can get free or reduced lunch because of widespread food insecurity in the district. But COVID-19 complicated that effort, as kids weren't going into the classroom for almost a year.

"Before the pandemic hit, we knew in Ohio there were around 500,000 kids living in what we’d refer to as a 'food insecure home,' meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from," said Children Hunger Alliance president Judy Mobley.

But after the state shut down classrooms and many businesses, the portion of Columbus children who were food insecure increased from about 20% to 25%.

"We typically during a school year would provide after-school meals to kids, but there were no after-school programs operating for the most part," Mobley said. "So everybody was scurrying around trying to figure out how to help feed kids."

Each child at the event received three dinners and two breakfasts to tide them over during the upcoming spring break.

"We have been working with schools to give kids meals now that many are back in session," Mobley said. "We’re looking at, well what are they gonna do during this Spring Break?"

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.